Shawano Dems January/February Newsletter

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It seems like yesterday that we elected Joe Biden President and Kamala Harris Vice-President. Now it’s time to take our enthusiasm for change into 2021.

The only state election is for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  There are seven candidates who will be on the ballot in the February 16th primary.  Two of them have been invited to come to our January 20th Zoom meeting which will be held at 6:00 pm since the candidates will be involved in a Forum from 6:30-8:00 pm.  Shelia Briggs is presently the Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Jill Underly is the Superintendent of Schools for the Pecatonica Area.  Also reaching out for support from the Shawano Dems was Dr. Shandowlyon Hendricks who is an author and consultant in Milwaukee.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals for District 3 has three candidates.  Antigo attorney Aaron Loudenslager and Wausau attorney Rick Cveykus have both wanted help from the party.
Website information about all the candidates can be found on our website.

Those living in the School District of Shawano have an opportunity to vote for Robin Raber Bergeron for the Shawano School Board in the at-large member position.  Robin works as a clinical social worker and substance abuse counselor In her private practice in Shawano .  She is active in her daughter’s school’s PTA and PTO.

Also, in the primary will be candidates for Shawano Alderperson for District One.  Maureen (Muffy) Culhane and Daniel Poels will be on the ballot with two others.  Muffy is a pharmacist at ThedaCare and board president for SAM25.  She is also on the board for Red River Riders.  Dan is an insurance agent for Humana with 12 years of experience in the Medicare industry.  He has done volunteer work for Shawano Pathways and is a volunteer driver with SHHS to bring people to their doctor’s visits.

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Newsletter for July and August


One way you can show your support for candidates is by putting a sign in your yard.  We now have signs for Joe Biden and Congressional Candidate Amanda Stuck.  We will be having an office but it won’t be open until August 13th.  In the meantime, you can get signs at different locations throughout the county:
Shawano:  Call/Text – Jan Koch 715-296-6726
(Note: Signs aren’t allowed in the City of Shawano until September 4th.)
Bonduel:  Text – Dan Weidner 715-250-1212
Gresham:  Call/Text – Dea Bisley 715-853-6424
Wittenberg:  Call/Text – Bill Switalla 715–253-2052
Marion:  Call –  Dan Mantsch 715-326-1245
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   There are several opportunities in March to volunteer before the spring election.  On Sat., March 14th a phone bank will be held at the Shawano Civic Center between noon and 3:00 pm.  Bring your cell phone or use a burner phone if available.  We need to find more volunteers to knock doors on March 21 and 28 and to “Get Out the Vote” on April 4th.  Let us know if you can help in any way.
   We want to have more progressive nonpartisan candidates running for office at the state and local level.  Spreading the word to vote for Jill Karofsky for State Supreme Court Justice is important.  If you are interested in putting up a sign, let us know.


   The 7:00 pm March 18th meeting at the Shawano Civic Center will feature some of the candidates running for county board.  District 1 Dan Poels and Nancy Cramer; District 3 Milt Marquardt and District 24 Bill Switalla have been invited to participate.  District 23 candidate Aaron Damrau can’t attend but has submitted his opinions on various topics. 


   The March op-ed will be about the influence of money in our politics.  The passage of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in 2010 opened the flood gates to Political Action Committees (PACs) being able to spend as much money as they want to influence voter’s minds.  Unfortunately, representatives who accept PAC money are beholden to their contributors instead of to the citizens they represent.  Due to the grassroots United to Amend movement, states and municipalities are passing resolutions and referendums in support of a movement to get a Constitutional Amendment to reverse Citizen’s United.  Residents of the Town of Wescott have an opportunity to vote “YES” in a referendum on April 7th.
   April’s op-ed will be about Medicaid.  Wisconsin’s failure to accept funding and the Trump administration’s cuts have affected families’ healthcare.  Amanda Stuck, candidate for Congress, will be on the Breakfast Club on April 9th to further discuss this topic.


   This year the 6th and the 8th Congressional Districts will have a joint convention in Oshkosh on April 5th.  If you wish to be a delegate, text Dan Weidner at 715-250-1212.
   Those interested in being a delegate to the National Convention can start by submitting the form online at by April 17th.  Please keep in mind submitting this form only makes you eligible to attend the county level caucus which will be held on April 26th at the Shawano Civic Center.  Registration is from 1:00-2:00 pm. 
   Delegates selected from the county level caucus will go to the 8th CD Caucus on May 17th.  At the Congressional Caucus 6 delegates, 2 males and 2 females will be chosen to represent the 8th Congressional District in Milwaukee.
   Volunteers will also be needed at the Convention.  Sign up online at


March 12:  Listen to WTCH’s Breakfast Club from 8:00-9:00 am on 960 AM & 96.1 FM.
March 14:  Phone bank at Civic Center noon-3 :00pm.
March 18: 7:00 pm County Board Candidate Forum and Shawano Dems’ Meeting.
April 1:  Executive Committee Meeting 5 :30 pm,  Shawano Civic Center
April 7:  Vote in Spring Election! 
April 9:  Listen to Amanda Stuck on WTCH’s Breakfast Club from 8:00 am-9:00 am on 960 AM & 96.1 FM.
April 15:  Shawano Dems’ Meeting at 7:00 pm at the Civic Center.  Speaker to be announced.

Chair’s Comments

   What a difference a week can make from the narrowing of the presidential race to the unfortunate spread of the coronavirus.  It’s hard to turn off the news with so much going on.
   It is crucial that our vote is protected in the upcoming elections.  Attorney Steve Menard has volunteered to be our county liaison in case there are problems at polling places. But we also need poll watchers.  If you are available on April 7th and November 3rd, your help would be greatly appreciated.  You can sign up at The spring election is a chance to get your feet wet so you are a pro by the general election.
   The Dems like to help out where we can.  SAM25 will be selling brats and hamburgers at Charlie’s Red Barn on April 23 and 24.  If you are able to help, please call Connie at 725 -851-7252.

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  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..(      You can read the summaries at  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   Pre-register at
  Milwaukee’s Potawatomie Hotel & Casino will be the site of the state convention on June 1-2.  Pre-register at


   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
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 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.