Ben Wikler to lead Wisconsin Democrats into 2020

Delegates to the Wisconsin Democratic Party 2019 convention in Milwaukee elected Ben Wikler to lead the party as we go into the 2020 elections. Wikler, a Madison native, has a long history working for progressive Democrats in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He recently served as director of MoveOn.org, and actively worked to support Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for president. He ran on a slate with Felesia Martin and Lee Snodgrass.

Act today to increase K-12 funding is Wisconsin

If you care about K-12 education in Wisconsin, it is time to act today. The State Joint Finance Committee meets tomorrow to vote on increases in K-12 funding. Governor Ever’s budget had strong support, and major increases were recommended by the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding. These potential increases would have a significant positive impact on small, rural school districts like Prairie Farm. Below is an email I sent to all members of the committee along with all their email addresses. Please feel free to copy, paste and voice your opinion.

Here are the emails of the committee members:

Sen.Darling@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Nygren@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Loudenbeck@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Olsen@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Tiffany@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Marklein@legis.wi.gov; Sen.Stroebel@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.LeMahieu@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov; Sen.Johnson@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Born@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Rohrkaste@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Zimmerman@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov; Rep.Goyke@legis.wisconsin.gov

Here’s the letter I sent to the members of the Joint Finance Committee, feel free to copy and paste whatever works for you.

It has been my pleasure to participate in the future of our community as a member of the Prairie Farm School District Board of Education. As evidenced by our district voting to approve referendums, our community, as do many others in our great State support increased funding for K-12 education. As you prepare to vote on the K-12 education portion of the state budget, please consider the following:  

  • Please support at least a $200 per pupil revenue increase in each year of the biennium.  With the cost of inflation and the increasing challenges facing our schools, it is critical that schools in our state are able to at least maintain programming.  
  • Our schools need a substantial increase in special education funding.  In our district, over the past school year our special education population has increased by 19 students (19%). However, they were not present for the 3rd Friday count in September which leads us to provide services for 19 additional special education students based on funding which does not account for them. The increase in students and the trend of under funding special education for many years has caused our district alone to draw $454,922 from our general fund to cover special education costs in the past year. This as you can imagine has a significant impact on not only our special education students but also the general education population, staff and building operations.
  • Declining enrollment is also important to many schools regardless of size.  A five-year rolling average for declining enrollment would be much better then the current three-year rolling average and would have an impact for us.  
  • Additional school funding must be spendable.  While the complexity of the school funding formula has made it difficult for some constituents to fully understand Wisconsin school finance, people are catching on to the clever tactics of using the public’s support for funding schools to provide property reductions.  School levy credits and increases to general aid without a corresponding revenue limit increase do not provide any additional funding to schools for supporting the educational needs of children.  I understand the desire to hold the line on taxes; however, the funds that the public thinks are intended for schools should be provided to schools in a spendable manner.  Wisconsin taxpayers deserve the truth, and schools need sustainable funding from the state that can be spent on our children.  With the recent efforts to provide funding through state grants, the competitive grant process often promotes more red tape, greater inequity between school districts, and a less efficient use of our state’s limited resources.  New funding should be made available through the revenue limit formula and/or per-pupil aid adjustments so Wisconsin taxpayers can realize the greatest return on our state’s investment.      

Your upcoming votes on K-12 education funding are critically important to the future of our state, our schools and our children! 

Thank you for your consideration,

Ken Seguine
Prairie Farm, WI

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May Membership Meeting “Organizing to Win in 2020” May 22, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 8 PM Menomonie Public Library

Join us! At this meeting, we will discuss our 6-month plan for building an organized grassroots foundation in Dunn County to prepare for the 2020 elections. We will discuss the unique position Dunn County plays in the presidential election and the important roles for local volunteers to have an impact. John Calabrese will provide an update about the activities of Dunn County elected representatives in the Wisconsin legislature. We hope you can make it! Everyone is invited.

Calvin Christianson passed away on May 12

Long time Dunn County Democratic leader, Cal Christianson died in Menomonie on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Olson Funeral Home and from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, both in Menomonie. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the church. Burial will be at a later date at Mamre Cemetery, Menomonie.

A remembrance of Cal from Margaret Breisch

Cal could be depended on to help whenever asked.  He would drive long distances to pick up signs we had ordered.  He was the one we depended on most to find places to put up our large signs.  He would find places for signs and also arrange to have them put up.  He would volunteer at our offices.  As a member of the Dunn County Fair Board, he helped us get the best locations for our booths.   He helped us through the difficult transition of leadership after the 2016 election. Although he did not want to serve as chair, he did eventually agree to serve as a co-hair with Bob Salt. When Bob Salt resigned as a co-chair, he stepped aside to allow Dale Wiehoff become chair.  Cal was very willing to help when needed, but also knew it was important to let others grow in leadership roles.  I recall many times riding to conventions with Cal. He was always willing to drive. I never heard his say an unkind word about another. He was pleasant to be around.  He was a strong union supporter. He was always willing to serve. He will be missed.

April Membership Meeting “Medicare for All” Wednesday, April 24 6:30 PM April Location – Colfax Library


Join us on the 2nd floor of the Colfax Public Library for a meeting of the Dunn County Democrats. All are welcome. Visit the event on Facebook,
share with your friends and invite them to attend. (Colfax Village Public
Library, 613 Main St, Colfax WI)  
Our special guest will be Dawn Garcia who will present on “Medicare for All.” Dawn M. Garcia (MBA, MS, RN, CMQ-OE) is a business and healthcare leader with over 30 years’ experience in clinical care services, senior
leadership, education, and organizational development roles. Dawn’s
presentation will explore “Medicare for All” and how it can address
today’s healthcare challenges. She will discuss the legislation​ currently
being proposed in Congress by Representative Jayapal and
Senator Sanders. She will also give suggestions about how members of
the Dunn County Democrats can talk about universal health care with
those in our community who may be skeptical.  
Read the minutes from our March membership meeting.

Wisconsin Officially Removed from ACA Lawsuit!

The will of the people has prevailed! This week Wisconsin was officially allowed to leave the multi-state lawsuit attempting to repeal the
Affordable Care Act. Wisconsin tax-dollars were being used to pursue this lawsuit (joined and spearheaded by former Governor Scott Walker),
which the majority of Wisconsinites didn’t even support! From day one
this was a risky lawsuit that jeopardized healthcare coverage for
2.3 million Wisconsinites living with a pre-existing condition. It was a GOP political stunt that did not have the best interests of Wisconsin in mind.
“I don’t make promises I can’t keep. Today, I’m proud to say that we fulfilled our promise to remove Wisconsin from the GOP lawsuit to
gut the Affordable Care Act. It’s time for Republicans to stop
blocking the will of the people and start working with us to expand healthcare.”
Gov. Tony Evers
A promise made is a promise kept. I am so thankful that we have elected officials who keep their word and fight the good fight to protect and expand health care.

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Proposed plan for 2020 Delegate selection

Proposed Democratic Party of Wisconsin 2020 Delegate Selection Plan Overview:
     I. General Information on the 2020 DNC Convention
     II. About the Delegate Selection Process
          a. Types of Delegates
          b. Convention Standing Committee Members
          c. Diversity goals
     III. How to Run for Delegate
     IV. Summary of Deadlines

General Information on the 2020 Democratic National Convention
The 2020 Democratic National Convention will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 13 to 16th, 2020. The convention is a major event in the life of a political party and convention delegates are at the heart of all decisions made. In addition to voting for the party’s presidential and vice presidential nominee, delegates to the Democratic National Convention have an opportunity to vote on the party’s platform and resolutions, as well as the rules that govern the party.

Wisconsin will select a total of 90 delegates and 6 alternates for the 2020 Convention.

About the Delegate Selection Process
Any qualified Wisconsin elector who subscribes to the beliefs of the Democratic Party is eligible to run for a spot as a convention delegate in Milwaukee.

There are four types of delegates:

  • District Level Delegates and Alternates
  • Pledged Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEOs)
  • At-Large Delegates and Alternates
  • Automatic Party Leader and Elected Official Delegates

In addition, the party will elect members to serve on the convention’s three standing committees: Credentials, Platform and Rules.


A. Types of Delegates

1) District Level Delegates and Alternates
Wisconsin has a total of 50 district-level delegates and 5 alternates. Each congressional district is allotted a percentage of those delegates based on the 2016 and 2018 Democratic performance in that district. The breakdown for the 2020 convention is as follows:

2) Pledged Party Leader and Elected Official Delegates
Wisconsin is allotted ten Pledged Party Leader and Election Official (PLEO) delegates.

Individuals shall be eligible for the PLEO delegate positions according to the following priority:

  • Large city mayors (Milwaukee and Madison) and state-wide elected officials
  • State legislative leaders
  • State legislators
  • Other state, county and local elected officials and party leaders

If person eligible for PLEO delegate positions have not already made known their presidential preference (or uncommitted status) as candidates for district-level or at-large delegate positions, their preference shall be ascertained through their statement of inten

3) At-Large Delegates and Alternates
Wisconsin is allotted 17 at-large delegates and one at-large alternate. The statement of candidacy for at-large delegates and for at-large alternates will be the same. After the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s Administrative Committee elects the at-large delegates, those persons not chosen for delegate will then be considered candidates for at-large alternate positions unless they specify otherwise when filing.

In the selection of the at-large delegation, priority consideration will be given to African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian/Pacific Americans. Additionally, in order to continue the Democratic Party’s ongoing efforts to include groups historically under-represented in the Democratic Party’s affairs, priority consideration will also be given to other groups by virtue of age, sexual orientation/gender identity or disability.

4) Automatic Party Leaders and Elected Official Delegates
Wisconsin has thirteen automatic delegates. These individuals are automatic by virtue of respective public or Party office as provided in III, B. 1. Of the 2020 Wisconsin Delegate Selection Rules. Individuals in this category include members of the Democratic National Committee who legally reside in the state and all of Wisconsin’s Democratic Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and the Governor of Wisconsin.


B. Convention Standing Committee Members
Wisconsin will also send members to participate in the Democratic National Convention’s three standing committees: the Platform Committee, the Credentials Committee, and the Rules Committee.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is allotted three members per committee. Any Democrat who is a qualified elector (being 18 years of age on or before April 7, 2020) is eligible to apply for a committee position. One does not have to be a delegate to apply for this position.

Committee members will be selected by a quorum of Wisconsin’s delegation to the DNC convention on June 13, 2020, following the adjournment of the State Convention. Presidential candidates will be responsible for submitting names to be considered for those spots.


Diversity Goal
It is important to note that the party strongly invites all interested individuals to run for a position as convention delegate. To encourage the fullest participation, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has established delegation goals for traditionally underrepresented groups. The party will make efforts to reach out to leaders in these communities and conduct trainings and provide other information necessary to encourage people of all backgrounds to participate in the process. Wisconsin hopes to send the most diverse delegation possible to the Milwaukee Democratic National Convention in 2020. The chart below will show the delegation goals that have been set by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

How to Run for Delegate:

In order to run for delegate, one must be:
     • 18 years old on or before April 7, 2020
     • A resident of Wisconsin and a citizen of the US
     • A registered voter in the district in which he or she is running

Step One: Statement of Candidacy and Support
In order to qualify as a district-level delegate or alternate, an individual must file a statement of candidacy designating his or her presidential (or uncommitted) preference and a signed pledge of support for the presidential candidate (including uncommitted status) with the State Party headquarters by 5:00p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020. These forms will be available on February 10, 2020.

Step Two: County Level Caucus
Wisconsin operates on a two-tier caucus system. The first tier will take place at the county level on Sunday, April 26, 2020. One must register between 1:00p.m. and 2:00p.m. The caucus will begin at 2:00 p.m. and will choose delegates to represent the county at the congressional district caucus. The exact location of each caucus will be released by the county parties no later than March 13, 2020.

Step Three: Congressional District Caucus
The congressional district level caucus will be on Sunday, May 17, 2020. One must register between 1:00p.m. and 2:00p.m., at which time the caucus will begin. The exact locations of the congressional district caucus will be released no later than March 27, 2020. Congressional district caucuses will select delegates and alternates, pending approval of the presidential campaigns.

To run as a PLEO or at-large delegate, one must submit the same statement of intent for this position to the state party by May 29, 2020.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s Administrative Committee will select the 10 PLEO delegates, 17 at-large delegates and one at-large alternate at its meeting on Friday, June 12, 2020. The Administrative Committee will be meeting in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin prior to the convening of the 2020 Democratic Party of Wisconsin State Convention.

Summary of Deadlines:

* Automatic Party Leader and Elected Official (PLEO) delegates includes the following categories, if applicable, who legally reside in the state: the Democratic National Committee Members, the Democratic President, the Democratic Vice President, all Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, the Democratic Governor, and any other Distinguished Party Leader as specified in Rule 9.A. of the 2020 Delegate Selection Rules. The exact number of Automatic PLEO Delegates is subject to change due to possible deaths, resignations, elections or special elections.

** Pledged Party Leader and Elected Officials (PLEO) alternates are selected with the At-Large alternates.

Help elect Judge Lisa Neubauer to the Wisconsin Supreme Court April 2nd!

Vote April 2nd

Judge Lisa Neubauer and Judge Brian Hagedorn are running for
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice. The April 2nd election will be crucial.  
How so? We’ve witnessed an erosion of voting rights in Wisconsin.
What’s more, we’re the most heavily gerrymandered state in the
country.

If we want to ensure voters choose their elected officials and not the
other way around, we absolutely must win this election. If we do that
and we flip a Supreme Court seat in 2020—we’ll have shifted the court
from conservative to liberal just in time for the new district maps to be
drawn.  
How the candidates stack-up  
Judge Lisa Neubauer State appeals court judge for 10 years.
Served as Chief Judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the highest ranking jurist not on the Supreme Court, since 2015.
Supported by 98% of endorsing judges—judges who’ve been appointed
by both Republicans and Democrats.
Served as a Big Sister for Greater Racine.
“We need to keep our courts and justice system fair, impartial, and independent to protect the rights of all Wisconsinites.” – Judge Neubauer

Judge Brian Hagedorn State appeals court judge for 3 years.
Served as legal advisor to Governor Scott Walker
Played a role in drafting Act 10 legislation that stripped public sector unions of their collective bargaining rights.
Adopted a strong stance against marriage equality, even likening
same-sex marriage to bestiality.
Favored taking away the Affordable Care Act’s protections for
pre-existing conditions.
“We should be ‘dismantling the public education system as we know it’ in
favor of more corporate involvement in education.” – Judge Hagedorn

What can you do to help?  
Be sure to vote for Judge Neubauer on Tuesday, April 2nd.
Forward this link to your Wisconsin family and friends and get their
commitment to vote for Judge Neubauer on April 2nd.
If you have questions about where you vote, visit myvote.wi.gov.

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Rural voices are needed in Green New Deal

From: Wisconsin Farmer’s Union News

Editor’s Note: For this issue, WFU Executive Director enlisted the help of Dunn County Farmers Union member Dale Wiehoff to tackle a big topic — the recently announced Green New Deal.

If the recent spate of winter storms isn’t enough, the mess in Washington would make anybody want to pack up and run away to someplace sunny. One possible bright spot on our horizon, though, is the introduction of a congressional resolution calling for a Green New Deal. This is not a new idea, but one whose time is long overdue. It’s a combination of Roosevelt-style programs with a focus on renewable energy and economic justice. Unfortunately, an examination of the current resolution reveals that, once again, rural America, small towns and agriculture have been left out in the cold. Let’s change that.

Whatever one thinks of the particulars of the Green New Deal — the absence of rural concerns or its chances of legislative success — it is a bold, aspirational infrastructure plan, and the progressive farm movement should be part of that conversation. National Farmers Union recently applauded this congressional effort to curb climate change. As a leading agricultural organization in the country, it recognizes what is at stake for farm families and rural communities in terms of climate change and unsustainable agriculture practices and policies. One only has to think of climate-related disasters, such as extreme weather, to understand how close farmers are to the problem.

We in Wisconsin have a long tradition of progressive farm and labor policy initiatives. Our absence from the Green New Deal coalitions merely confirms the terrible toll globalization and corporate concentration have taken on rural communities and agriculture. Through financial disinvestment, the elimination of family farms and the corresponding concentration of industrial agriculture, rural concerns have simply fallen off the agenda. We have an opportunity here. With serious discussion of a green infrastructure plan, Farmers Union can help provide the leadership that will point towards public policy that serves the real needs of rural America. The Green New Deal must align with rural communities to be successful. Its supporters aim to secure clean air and water; climate and community resiliency; healthy food; access to nature; and a sustainable environment. In our minds, none of those things can be achieved without powerful rural alliances. Let’s examine areas of common ground as the first step.

Infrastructure is widely recognized as a place where America can come together. Anybody in a rural Wisconsin township who has had their blacktop roads replaced with gravel can tell you our infrastructure is in trouble. Our family farms are disappearing. Our schools are being consolidated and our children move away as soon as possible. According to a report by the Economic Innovation Group, only 9 percent of new jobs being created in the country are happening in rural counties. Our local economies have been hollowed out. The time to invest in our rural economy and infrastructure is now.

This is not to say that bringing about a comprehensive Green New Deal is going to be easy or even likely in the short term, given the current makeup of Congress. It is to say that if we don’t step up with a bold, aspirational vision for rural infrastructure, no one else is going to do it for us. And, worse, it will be done for us and the country will be stuck with “infrastructure” that does nothing but grease the skids for corporate conglomerates. As supporters of the Green New Deal point out, not all jobs and infrastructure plans are created equal. Giving a giant foreign company like Foxconn $4 billion will not help rural America. President Trump and former Governor Walker’s failed infrastructure proposal would only have put billions of public funds into the pockets of giant corporations while paying for it by selling off our infrastructure and raising tolls, with a total disregard for the effect on working Americans. We need to turn this model on its head and put principles of democratic decision making, community investment and control, respect for people and safeguarding of natural resources as the drivers of a real new deal for rural America.

If you are interested in the Green New Deal and you want to rally rural voices, host an event in your local chapter and get a conversation started, write to your congressional leaders, make a video or pen an op-ed. Farmers Union wants to hear from you to help direct action on this very important resolution.

Dale Wiehoff, Dunn County Farmers Union & Julie Bomar, WFU Executive Director