Friday, March 23, 2007

Minutes of the County Convention 3/17/07

Washington County Convention
Saturday, March 17, 2007

Washington County Convention was held Saturday, March 17, 2007 at the Washington County Courthouse. Chairman John Greener called the Convention to order at 1:12 p.m. There were 20 people present, including two guests (Senator Schmidt and Carrianna Suiter).

Senator Becky Schmidt thanked the Washington county democratic voters for all their hard work during the fall election. She said that many issues that have been on the table for years are now being dealt with because the Democrats control both houses of the legislature and the Governorship. These include minimum wage, safe schools act, bulling legislation, cigarette tax, local option for smoke free cities and counties, allowing stem cell research to progress, teacher quality to increase teacher pay. Some good things for small businesses and renewable energy are still being worked on. Senator Schmidt said that working in the legislature she has become even more aware that there are huge differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. She believed that we have the opportunity to elect a Democratic house seat, especially when people see how much has been accomplished by the Democratically controlled legislature. Senator Schmidt also said that she has sent a rebuttal to the Washington Evening Journal about the very erroneous article about her and the Fair Share legislation. There was a question and answer session for the Senator that lasted about 30 minutes.

Mike Roe told the group about his concerns regarding funding for small airports.

Terry Philips reported that Robert Spinner had a stoke this last week and will have to cut back on activities. Chairman Greener said he would send a card from the group.

Carrianna Suiter from the Obama Campaign was introduced and spoke about his recent visits to Iowa. Fred and Nan Stark got to spend about 30 minutes with Obama at the Muscatine Event where there were about 1400 people, many of who were registered Republicans. Carrianna said she is interested in trying to get Obama to the Renewal Energy Expo, but that a formal letter requesting him to come will need to be sent. She said he would be back in Iowa on March 31. She said his campaign would like to have at least one house party in each county and that they will try to get smaller groups to meet with him. She also reiterated that they need office space in Washington County.

Terry Philips explained the three options for electing the 5-member board for supervisors. Jim Humpson has a petition circulating to call for a special election that would allow voters to choose the method of electing supervisors. A minimum of 750 signatures by June 1 is necessary to call for this election. Option 3 would cost more that either Option 1 or 2. Lots of questions were asked and discussed. Several people took petitions to distribute.

Treasurer Bonnie Banister reported $616.87 in the treasury. No minutes from the last Convention were read.

It was reported that there are 14,997 registered voters in Washington County. 3,223 are registered Democrats, 5,685 are registered Republicans and 6,089 are Independents. It was clarified that people can register for party affiliation at the Caucus.

Election of officers was held with the following results:
Chairperson: Sandra Johnson
Vice Chairperson: John Greener
Secretary: Louise Frakes
Treasurer: Kay Ciha

Newly elected Chairperson, Sandra Johnson, took over the meeting. It was announced that we may have 16 delegates to the District and State Convention. The District Convention will be held April 26 and the State convention will be held on June 14. Delegates will be Sandra Johnson, John Greener, Louise and Harold Frakes, Kay and Dave Ciha, Bonnie Banister, Everett Burham, Mike and Patty Roe, David Smithers, Steve Maxon, Doris Park, Terry Philips, Carol Butler, and Darlene Kelley. Alternates will be Fred and Nan Stark. Fred Stark moved, seconded by Harold Frakes, that the executive committee come up with names to fill the remaining alternate seats. Motion carried.

Under old business Secretary Louise Frakes read the fund raising letter, drafted by Harold Frakes. Suggestions for refining the letter include putting it on letterhead, adding our blog address, listing all the papers we send information to, and to ask for email addresses on the enclosure that people send back. Harold Frakes moved that the executive committee finish the letter and get it sent out as soon as possible. Motion passed. Chairperson Johnson asked for a bid on printing and postage cost. Terry Philips move, seconded by Mike Roe, to authorize up to $350 to spend for mailing of the fund raising letter. There was much discussion before the vote. Motion passed. Nan Stark, John Greener, and Mike and Patti Roe all volunteered to stuff the letter once it is ready to go.

Under new business, David Smithers moved, seconded by Terry Philips, to form a membership committee. This committee would take on the responsibility of the mailing and would report at each month’s meeting. Such a committee was set up consisting of David Smithers, Doris Park, and Steve Maxon. Sandra said she currently has a list of Washington County Democrats on Excel. Carrianna Suiter suggested changing to a Google spreadsheet, as it would then be easier to go from computer to computer.

Louise Frakes asked where the Constitution and By-Laws for the Washington County Democrats were. No one seems to know or have a copy. Everett Burham will do some research and report back at the April meeting. If none can be located, then a committee will be set up to write a new set which they will bring back to the group to be voted upon.

Steve Maxon moved that we adopt a resolution petitioning the Iowa State Legislature to urge congress to impeach George W. Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors. Harold Frakes seconded. Steve read the entire resolution to the group. There was much discussion, including Chairperson Johnson removing herself from chair in order to speak to the issue. Harold called for the question. Motion passed. The vote on the resolution was defeated by one vote.

John Greener suggested that Steve draft it as a letter and bring it to the next meeting where those do desired to could sign it.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday, April 3 at 7:00 pm at Breadeau Pizza in Washington.

Chairperson Sandra Johnson thanked everyone for coming and adjourned the convention at 3:37 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Louise Frakes, secretary.