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.

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