Blog

The Brown County Democrat – Fall 2021 Issue

The Brown County Democrat is a community newspaper featuring news and commentary from members of the Democratic Party of Brown County. 

The Fall 2021 issue features articles on democracy reform, union rights, and candidates declared for the 2022 elections. You can also find helpful peer advice, such as how to make calls to your elected representatives.

The first issue of The Brown County Democrat in Spring 2021 was well received by the community, and the Admin board increased its print run for the fall issue. Volunteers distributed advanced copies at the Brown County Fair, and members will be receiving theirs in the mail this week. You must be a member to receive a copy in the mail—join the party here to get yours.

If you already are a member, will you consider chipping in to fund mailing costs to members that have low access to the Internet?

The name The Brown County Democrat pays tribute to a newspaper first published in the county a century ago. We are proud to keep a local tradition going. Thank you Editor Robbie Phillips for bringing the vision of The Brown County Democrat to life!

We are looking for an editor and contributors for our Spring 2022 issue. Please email info@BrownCountyDems.com to pitch your ideas for articles, artwork, or business advertising (with a $35 donation).

Media Release: Democratic Party of Brown County Donates Wall to Green Bay’s Busker & Mural Festival

For Immediate Release

August 26, 2021

Photo Credit: On Broadway, Inc., the Democratic Party of Brown County, and . Pictured: Claire Erickson (top left) and Dr. Pooja Bambha-Arora (below)

Green Bay, Wis. – Brown County Democrats are pleased to announce their participation in the Mural & Busker Festival happening August 26th – 29th in downtown Green Bay. The party has donated the north wall of its office building at 118 S. Chestnut Avenue to On Broadway and United Art to be live painted during the public art event. 

“We are thrilled to make a donation to public art in Green Bay,” says Renee Gasch, Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County. “It’s a great way to give back to the neighborhood we love and contribute to revitalizing the local small business district.”

Dr. Pooja Bambha-Arora, a local Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant and board member of United Arts, served as project manager for the mural. United Arts is a local group focused on creating opportunities for underrepresented artists in the area. Buskers—live street performers—commissioned by On Broadway will also be set up outside the party office during the art event.

“We need to have inclusion and representation in every decision that we make when it comes to hiring for jobs and reflecting our community in public spaces,” said Dr. Bambha-Arora. As project manager, she interviewed several artists and contracted Claire Erickson to design the mural based on the themes of diversity and democracy. 

Community members and press are invited to come down to the event to see the live art throughout the weekend and help document the mural’s progress. Photography can be posted online using the party’s hashtag #VoteBlueBrownCounty or emailed to info@browncountydems.com

Coinciding with the public art event, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is hosting a Weekend of Action for volunteers to get out into the community and talk to voters. It will be the first time Democratic Party volunteers have knocked doors since the beginning of the pandemic in Spring 2020. Volunteers will be vaccinated and masked; anyone interested in participating can sign up here.

Interviews with the following representatives will be available throughout the weekend outside the building located at 118 S. Chestnut Ave in Green Bay:

Loren Prince, 2nd Vice Chair, Democratic Party of Brown County
Availability: Saturday 10-11am; Phone: (906) 235-0740

Dr. Pooja Bambha-Arora, Project Manager, United Art
Availability: Saturday 12pm to 1pm  
Sunday – 12 to 1pm. 
Phone: (716) 418-0990

Rep. Kristina Shelton, Wisconsin State Assembly (D – Green Bay)
Availability: Sunday 12-12:30 pm; Phone: (303) 883-2482

Following the completion of the mural, the Democratic Party of Brown County will take responsibility for the protection and upkeep of the mural. Members are hosting a small fundraiser for its building fund to cover the expense of maintaining the mural long term. Community members can donate here to support.

The Democratic Party of Brown County acknowledges that its office building resides on Indigenous land and recognizes the sovereignty of the First Nations of Wisconsin, including the local Menominee and Oneida Nations.

###

Brown County Democrats are Back, and Better Than Ever

It was lovely to see so many of you at our Welcome Back Party! Nearly 100 of us Brown County Democrats gathered on a stormy night in June to celebrate our wins together in-person for the first time in 15 months. Members were vaxxed, relaxed, and ready to party 🎉

Photo Credit: Chad Entringer

There was much to celebrate! In the fall, volunteers made thousands of phone calls to voters and distributed 30,000 yard signs to help win the state for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. In a few short months, the Biden Administration has already vaccinated close to 70 percent of adults and will cut child poverty in half in the U.S.

During the Spring elections, we helped Dr. Jill Underly win Brown County by ten points—and the state by 15—in her State Superintendent race. Plus, we supported more than a dozen local progressives in running for office.

Through it all, membership in the Democratic Party of Brown County grew by 40 percent!

Photo Credits: Chad Entringer, Lynn Gerlach

There were many new faces at our Welcome Back Party and many familiar friends who we‘ve missed over the past year. We had the privilege of wishing our favorite State Senator, Dave Hansen, a happy retirement after 20 years of service in the Wisconsin Legislature.

And we welcomed our newest Democratic leader, State Assembly Representative Kristina Shelton, who got us fired up to re-elect Democratic Governor Tony Evers in Fall 2022!

Photo Credit: Chad Entringer

The Brown County Democrats are building back better, and we plan to make some waves in 2022. We know that if we can win Brown County, Democrats can win the Midterm Elections. Will you help us keep the momentum going by signing up to join our Blue Crew of monthly donors?

Blue Crew donors contribute $15 a month to support the Democratic Party of Brown County in building the campaign infrastructure needed to turn Brown County blue in 2022. Plus Blue Crew donors get free perks! Sign up now here.

Thank you everyone for your support of Brown County Democrats.

Chair Renee Gasch, Vice Chair Terry Lee, and 2nd Vice Chair Loren Prince

p.s. We host monthly Assemblies every final Thursday of the month at our office in downtown Green Bay. Join us! A virtual option is also available, RSVP here.

Submit an article to our community newspaper

We are accepting article submissions for the June edition of the quarterly The Brown County Democrat newspaper. No need to be an expert writer. We will handle the editing and you will receive full credit for your work.

Articles should be between 300-450 words and focused on local, county, or State issues.

Please submit your articles to robbie.philips@gmx.com by Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Editor Robbie Philips.

Brown County Democrats to Send Nine Resolutions to the 8th Congressional District Convention

Updated May 2, 2021.

The Administrative Council of the Democratic Party of Brown County sent nine resolutions to the 8th Congressional District Convention on Sunday, May 2nd. The resolutions that passed and advanced in the top ten at the district convention will go on to the State Convention June 4-5, 2021. Sign up to be a delegate to vote on resolutions.

A special thanks to our Policy and Advocacy Committee, which wrote, edited and discussed resolutions throughout February and March. The resolutions will help shape party priorities and the state platform, which all Democratic candidates use to guide their campaigns.

  1. Ranked Choice VotingPassed, did not advance

Whereas a thriving, functional democracy requires fair elections.

Whereas ranked choice voting makes elections less divisive and results in campaigns with higher voter engagement.

Whereas ranked choice voting results in greater diversity of representation, especially for minority and female candidates.

Resolved. DPW supports the implementation of ranked choice voting for all elections in the state of Wisconsin.

  1. Raise the Age Did not pass

Whereas Wisconsin is one of the few states to prosecute children in adult court.

Whereas incarceration can have detrimental effects on the emotional, social and intellectual development of a child.

Whereas scientific research has confirmed that the human brain is not fully developed until an individual reaches their early 20s.

Whereas individuals under age 21 are not allowed to drink alcohol, receive a concealed carry license, or rent a car.

Resolved. DPW supports legislation to raise the age of juvenile court to age 21.

  1. Care Economy Passed, advanced

Whereas everyone should be able to earn a living and care for their loved ones without having to choose between their livelihood, health and safety, and family. 

Whereas families with qualified childcare thrive—allowing more parents to enter the workforce and benefiting children with early education. 

Whereas investments in care work boost the economy, lift families and children out of poverty, and address systemic inequities in the care economy made worse by Covid-19.

Resolved. DPW support investments in the care economy that would make certified, home and community-based caregivers available to every Wisconsin family that requests it.

  1. Indigenous Sovereignty Passed, advanced

Whereas Wisconsin is home to the Ho-Chunk Nation, Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, Oneida Nation, Forest County Potawatomi, Bad River Band, Lac Courte Oreilles Band, Lac du Flambeau Band, and Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, St. Croix Chippewa, Sokaogon Chippewa (Mole Lake), Stockbridge-Munsee, and Brothertown Nation. 

Whereas treaties between sovereign tribal governments and federal, state, and local governments have historically not been honored, which has disrupted the cultural connection between tribes and their land. 

Resolved. DPW acknowledges and respects tribal sovereignty, and commits to being stewards of Indigenous land and resources.

  1. Safe, Affordable Housing Passed, advanced

Whereas safe, affordable housing is a human right.

Whereas housing instability creates significant obstacles to accessing opportunities such as employment, healthcare, education, and civil rights.

Whereas affordable housing stock shortages have created an inaccessible housing market for many Wisconsinites and unsafe overcrowding during the pandemic.

Whereas eviction law unfairly disadvantages tenants, and an eviction on one’s record hinders the ability to secure future housing.

Resolved. DPW supports legislation and funding to improve housing quality through code enforcement, increase availability of subsidized housing, and improve access to legal representation for tenants.

  1. Family Values Passed, did not advance

Whereas Democratic policies supporting public education, higher minimum wages, child friendly tax policy, and affordable childcare all contribute to supporting the family. 

Whereas a conservative narrative of Democrats being antithetical to family life has largely gone unchallenged.

Resolved. DPW develop messaging and materials for candidates and county parties emphasizing the family supporting nature of Democratic policies.

  1. Data Rights Passed, advanced

Whereas the human right to privacy includes data rights, and the values of American democracy enshrine a life free from surveillance.

Whereas our personal data reflects vital and sensitive information about our lives and its misuse can be discriminatory and potentially life-threatening.

Whereas our data is our private property and should not be bought or sold without our express permission.

Resolved. DPW supports broad protections on personal, biometric, and medical data from unauthorized and unethical government or corporate use.

  1. Northern Wisconsin Development Corporation Did not pass

Whereas. Economic development in more remote parts of Wisconsin is often limited because small communities and counties cannot afford specialist staff or access sufficient funds; and that such communities often feel ignored by the Legislature and Executive of the State.

Whereas. Statewide economic initiatives are often focused on developments in our largest communities.

Resolved. Convention supports the establishment of a Northern Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, with wide powers and resources to sponsor sustainable economic development in communities north of Highway 29 with a population of less than 30000; focusing on value added manufacturing and diversifying the economic base of communities

  1. Medicaid Personal Needs Allowance Passed, advanced

Whereas, the Personal Needs Allowance for Medicaid recipients residing in long-term care facilities is the monthly sum of money they may retain from their personal income;

Whereas, this allowance is all that is available to obtain clothing and shoes, and to cover the cost of telephone, television, internet, a meal out, cards to send family, reading materials, hobbies, etc.; and,

Whereas, the PNA in Wisconsin is among the lowest at $45 with other states allowing up to $200;

Resolved. DPW supports increasing the PNA to a minimum of $100 and implementing annual automatic increases.

Media Release: Brown County Democrats Invite the Community to Drop Off Personal Electronics for Earth Day Ecycle Event

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021
For immediate release

Green Bay, Wis. – The Democratic Party of Brown County announces that it will host an Ecycle Event for Earth Day to collect personal electronics for recycling. Brown County residents are invited to drop off personal electronics 1-4pm daily from April 21st to 24th, 2021 at its Green Bay headquarters at 118 S. Chestnut Street.

“This is a great opportunity for people in the area to clear out their unwanted electronics they have collected over the years while ensuring that this potentially toxic stream of waste is disposed of responsibly,” said Brown County Chair Renee Gasch.

The Democratic Party of Brown County in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources and Sadoff Iron & Metal is collecting unwanted computer equipment, laptops, monitors, chargers, cell phones, VCRs, CD and DVD players, printers, small appliances, fax machines, stereos, cables and cords during the event. (See a complete list of requested items.) The party also accepts yard signs it distributed for the Spring election to reuse for future campaigns.

“Earth Day is a time to recommit to our value of environmental stewardship,” said Gasch. “The Ecycle Event is part of a sustained effort to reduce our collective environmental impact and live our values.” 

The Democratic Party of Brown County recently switched its Green Bay headquarters to run on renewable energy using Arcadia, a company that allows energy consumers to choose where their energy comes from. Community members are encouraged to do the same using the party’s referral link, which earns the party a credit on its bill. Learn more about the initiative here.

Earth Day is celebrated in memory of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat, who founded the day in 1970 to bring awareness to environmental conservation. It comes as Democrats in Congress discuss The American Jobs Plan, which would help put people to work on the nation’s clean energy transition, and Governor Evers works to advance his budget priorities, which include historic investments in clean water.

###

Media Contact: Renee Gasch or Terry Lee

Info@BrownCountyDems.com

Phone: (920) 405-0455

Be a Delegate to the Convention

The Democratic Party of Brown County is entitled to send 103 delegates to the Conventions of the 8th Congressional District on May 2nd and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin June 4th-5th.

Applications to be a delegate from Brown County will be considered in the order that they are received subject to membership being current. We encourage you to sign up as soon as possible! You will be advised if your membership needs renewal.

IMPORTANT DEADLINES

8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CONVENTION

Sunday, May 2nd 12:30-4:00pm

Convention will be held online.

Business includes:

Election of Officers of the 8th CD Democratic Party: Chair (also serves on State Admin Committee); 1st Vice Chair; 2nd Vice Chair; Secretary; Treasurer; 8th CD District Representative to State Admin Committee.

If you wish to stand for election you must notify the 8th CD Secretary (artimagingllc@gmail.com)  no later than April 22 to be included on the ballot. All those who register to be a delegate will be sent a detailed email about this.

Election of State Platform & Resolutions Committee Members: 1 3- year term Member; 1 1-year term Alternate

Resolutions Debate and Selection of ten resolutions to be submitted to State Convention from those submitted by County Parties.

Registration Fee $25.00 ($10 Students) 

Note the Registration fee for Convention is the major source of income for the 8th CD Party.

April 26th is the Deadline for Brown County to submit Delegate Names for the 8th CD Convention, and the deadline for your membership to be current.

Obviously for reasons of practicality you should submit your name as soon as possible to the County Party if you wish to be a delegate. Use this link

STATE CONVENTION

Friday, June 5th and Saturday, June 6th, 2021.

Convention will be held online. There is no registration fee for the state convention.

1. Promote Party Unity

2. Consideration of the DPW Platform

3. Consideration of 2021 Resolutions

4. Consideration of Constitutional Amendments

5. Election of Democratic Party of Wisconsin Party Officers. This includes the State Party Chair, and Vice Chairs.

MAY 15th 5pm is the Deadline for Brown County to submit the names of Delegates for the State Convention. Obviously for reasons of practicality you should submit your name as soon as possible to the County Party if you wish to be a delegate. Use this link.

MAY 22 5pm is the deadline to pay Membership if you are not current. People registering as a delegate will be advised of their membership status.

Statement: Brown County Democrats Thank Election Heroes for Another Successful Election

Wednesday April 7, 2021
For Immediate Release

Green Bay – Brown County Democrats thank the election workers, candidates, and voters for another successful election in Brown County—the fourth consecutive election held during the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It takes a village to run an election and ensure that every citizen has the right to vote,” said Renee Gasch, Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County. “We extend our gratitude to every patriot that made another democratic election in Brown County possible this Spring.”

Dr. Jill Underly, the state superintendent candidate endorsed by Wisconsin Democrats, won Brown County by ten percentage points and clinched victory over Deb Kerr with a 15-point margin statewide. Underly’s decisive victory adds to a winning streak for Wisconsin progressives, who since 2018 have elected a Democratic president, a U.S. senator, a governor, an attorney general, as well as two endorsed Supreme Court judges.

“The Spring election confirms once again that a progressive platform wins in Wisconsin. The only races that Democrats are consistently losing are the ones that were gerrymandered by Republicans,” said Gasch. “Voters deserve fair election maps so great candidates like Karl Jaeger have a fair chance to represent the people of Wisconsin.”

Jaeger, a Marinette County Supervisor who ran as a Democrat in the 89th Assembly Special Election, conceded the race to Republican Elijah Behnke late Tuesday night. The heavily gerrymandered district, which includes Northern Brown County, has never elected a Democrat since election maps were drawn by Republicans in 2011.

The Spring election occurs as state GOP lawmakers have introduced ten voter suppression bills that would make it harder for all Wisconsinites to vote. Nationwide, Republicans have introduced nearly 300 similar bills based on the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Meanwhile, House Democrats in Congress have passed the For the People Act, a series of sweeping democracy reforms that would make it easier for all Americans to vote and harder for politicians to gerrymander election maps. The bill heads to the U.S. Senate next.

###

Contact: Renee Gasch, Chair@BrownCountyDems.com, 920-405-0455


COMMUNITY CALL TO ACTION

Tell Congress to pass the For the People Act.

Who to Contact:
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson: (920) 230-7250
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin: (920) 498-2668


Tell your Wisconsin lawmakers to pass fair election maps.

Who to Contact:
State Senator Eric Wimberger: 608-266-5670
State Senator Robert Cowles: 608-266-0484
State Senator André Jacque: 608-266-3512
State Representative Kristina Shelton: 608-266-0616
State Representative John Macco: 608-266-0485
State Representative David Steffen: 608-266-5840
State Representative Shae Sortwell: 608-266-9870
State Representative Jim Steineke: 608-266-2418
State Representative Joel Kitchens: 608-266-5350

Statement: Brown County Democrats Call on Spring Candidates to Speak Out Against Transphobia

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
For immediate release

Green Bay — On International Trans Day of Visibility, the Democratic Party of Brown County reaffirms the inherent right of people of all genders to live with dignity and be treated with respect. The party calls on candidates in the April 6th Spring Election to show their support for the trans community and speak out against transphobic remarks made by a local conservative radio host about Rachel Maes for Circuit Court Judge, a candidate on the Spring ballot.

“Now is the time for candidates to demonstrate their leadership,” said Renée Gasch, Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County. “We hope everyone in these nonpartisan races will join with the community in speaking out against bullying, violence, and discrimination against trans residents.”

This week, WTAQ host Joe Giganti of the Regular Joe Show launched a transphobic attack on Maes, a well-respected and highly qualified city attorney running against Judge Kendall Kelley. Maes’ grassroots campaign is the first time voters have had a choice in the race in close to 20 years.

But WTAQ’s Giganti chose not to focus on Maes’ resume or the community support she has garnered. Instead, he disparaged her gender identity. Among the insults, Giganti asked if listeners “really want to put somebody in that chair, and into those robes, that can’t figure out whether they are a male or a female” and then compared someone experiencing gender dysphoria to someone suddenly deciding they are King of England or a tree.

“The Regular Joe Show has a history of stirring up hatred and conspiracies in Brown County,” said Gasch. “The candidates and businesses sponsoring WTAQ should pull their advertising dollars immediately. Our community deserves better.”

Two Spring candidates, Angela Hoisington for De Pere Unified School Board and Rhonda Sitnikau for Green Bay School Board, are among the sponsors for the show. Others include Pella Windows and Doors, U.S. Cellular, and Community First Credit Union.

International Trans Day of Visibility designates March 31st as a day to recognize the contributions of the trans community and raise awareness about discrimination. The day comes as conservative attacks on trans people have escalated in recent weeks. Republicans have backed more bills targeting trans children, including one in Wisconsin that outlaws trans girls from playing on girls’ sports teams.

###

Contact: Renee Gasch, Chair@BrownCountyDems.com, 920-405-0455


COMMUNITY CALL TO ACTION

Post a Message of Support

Today is #TransDayofVisibility, a day to recognize the contributions of the trans community and speak out against discrimination. I’m proud to vote for @Rachel Maes for Circuit Court Judge in the Spring Election. She is a highly qualified and well-respected city attorney running to bring a fresh perspective to the local Circuit Court. When she is elected on April 6th, she will be the first trans judge to serve Brown County. Learn more about her campaign here: https://www.maesforjudge.com.

File a Complaint with WTAQ

Station Manager: jason.hillery@mwcradio.com 

File a Complaint with the FCC

https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us

Phone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322); TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322); ASL: 1-844-432-2275

Mail (please include your name, address, contact information and as much detail about your complaint as possible):
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
45 L Street NE
Washington, DC 20554


UPDATE

We all deserve to live in a community where we are treated with dignity—no matter our LGBTQ+ status, the color of our skin, or where our parents were born. We pledge to stand against hate in all its forms.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our community call to action to stand up for the trans community and defend a nonpartisan candidate, Rachel Maes for Circuit Court Judge, against recent hateful attacks by a local conservative radio host. And we thank Rhonda Sitnikau for Green Bay School Board for pulling her ads from the show. Unfortunately Angela Hoisington for De Pere School Board did not respond to our call to action, and Susan Netzel for De Pere recently joined the list of WTAQ sponsors.

It takes all of us to stand up to bullies and demand accountability. Thank you to those that demonstrated their leadership and stood in solidarity with the trans community.

Spring Election Guide

In the Spring election, voters will choose the state superintendent of public instruction, local judges and municipal and school boards. The Democratic Party of Brown County does not make endorsements in nonpartisan races, but here are a few races we are watching.

On the top of their Spring Election ballot, voters will find the statewide race for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has endorsed Dr. Jill Underly for State Superintendent over Deb Kerr

At our February Assembly of the Democratic Party of Brown County, Rachel Maes for Brown County Judge spoke about her campaign to provide a fresh perspective to the local circuit court. It’s the first time her opponent Judge Kendall Kelley has had a challenger in close to two decades. The other two circuit court judicial races are uncontested.

For Court of Appeals, Rick Cveykus, who also spoke at our February meeting, is running against conservative Judge Greg Gill, who is funded by far-right national donors.

There is also a Special Election in the 89th Assembly District to fill the seat vacated by John Nygrun a few weeks after being elected. Karl Jaeger is running as the Democrat against Republican Elijah Behnke. We are proud to support Jaeger’s campaign and his vision for clean water, affordable healthcare, and rural broadband!

School Boards

We do not currently endorse in local elections, but we are certainly impressed by so many local candidates stepping up to lead. Here are a few races we are watching.

In the Green Bay School District race, there are four candidates running for two seats: Andrew Becker, Bryan Milz, Nancy Welch, and Rhonda Sitnikau.

In West De Pere, Jamie Kinjerski is running for School Board against Ryan Van Den Heuvel. And in East De Pere, incumbents Jeff Mirkes and Dan Van Straten are being challenged by Angela Hoisington and Chad Jeskewitz for De Pere Unified School District.

In Pulaski, local teacher unions have endorsed Megan Mills-Koehler over Dan Novak as well as Jeromy Delebreau in an unopposed race.

Municipal Boards

On the ballot alongside Karl Jaeger in Northern Brown County is Nick Bonafilia for Suamico Trustee running against Michelle Eckert and Dan Roddan. 

Alder Jonathon Hansen is up for re-election to De Pere City Council against Susan Netzel and John Quigley is running unopposed for Casey Nelson’s former seat. 

In Ledgeview, Sachin Shivaram and Jennifer Nowicki are running for two open seats on the town board against Alan Matzke and Al Cheslock. 

Steve Kabaki is also running unopposed for trustee in Ashwaubenon.

If your local race wasn’t listed, join our BC Dems Facebook group to discuss candidates with members.