June Meeting of the Washington County Democrats.
Washington County Democrats met in the Day Lounge at Halcyon House on Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. Sandra Johnson called the meeting to order with 29 people present.
Vice Chair John Greener introduced five guests: Ben Young and Aaron Jennings from the Chris Dodd campaign; Mike McCall from the John Edwards campaign; and Graham Wilson from the Obama campaign. Each of these guests gave a brief overview of their candidate and encouraged people to come talk with them after the meeting.
The other guest was our State Senator Becky Schmitz. Senator Schmitz expressed her gratitude for all the help given her through her campaign last summer and the support she had had through her first session of the legislature. She spoke briefly about the bills the legislature has been able to get passed this session: minimum wage increase, the cigarette tax, tax credit, and the teacher quality bill. She assured everyone that she would continue putting articles in the paper. She explained that many bills struggled in the House because that branch does not have as strong a majority as the Senate does. This underscores the importance of electing a Democrat to the House at the next election.
Chairman Johnson pointed out an unintended consequence of the minimum wage bill. Becky said she would take a look at that issue. Senator Schmitz also said that she is sure the smoking ordinance will come up again. She reassured people that the income from the cigarette tax has been earmarked for health related issues and smoking prevention programs.
Everett Burham pointed out that many of the people at the meeting were residents of Halcyon House. He introduced them to the group. He stated that the residents are very pleased that we are meeting at Halcyon House because it is so convenient for them to attend meetings.
The treasurer’s report was given with a balance of $599.19 after the expenses for the Fair Booth, postage for the second mailing, copying, post cards, etc., had been paid. The report will be filed for audit.
Under committee reports, Kay Ciha thanked Tom, Myra, and Bonnie for helping her get the second mailing ready to send. She reported that we have three new members since our last meeting.
Doris Park reported that she, Steve Maxon, Sandra Johnson, and Terry Philips attended the Second District Central Committee meeting in Riverside on May 6th. Their main task at this meeting was planning for the July 28th Training Workshop, which will be held at the North Liberty Community Center. In connection with the workshop there will be a fundraising event for the Dave Loebsack campaign, which will include a reception/social hour, a dinner, and a speaker.
Terry Philips reported for the Candidate Recruitment committee. He reminded us that the sheriff, the treasurer, at least four supervisors, as well as the House seat are all up for the 2008 election. That is a lot of good people we need to find.
Terry Philips also reported on the Vets Caucus. He and Sandra Johnson attended their meeting in Des Moines last month. The purpose of this group is to be sure veteran issues are very visible to the candidates. The next meeting of this group will be June 23rd at 10:00 am at the Riverside Casino and Resort in the Brighton Room. While in Des Moines, Sandra and Terry toured the veteran’s museum in Ft. Dodge. They said it was very interesting (and free) and they encouraged others to visit it.
Events chair, John Greener, reported on the great turn out for the John Edwards event on Friday, May 25th. John said this group was so easy to work with and so well organized. He received a thank-you note from the Edwards campaign after the event which he read to our group.
Other events that John Greener reported on were the Dave Loebsack listening post which was held May 26th and was well attended, the June 2nd Ridiculous Day parade which four people attended (but at least the Democrats were represented!), the June 2nd Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids which no one was able to attend, and the June 3rd hear the debate party which was held at Kay and Dave Ciha’s. He also said that he had listened to an NPR report where the top three Democratic candidates talked about their values.
Dave Ciha reported on a special meeting where Obama met with veterans. He was very impressed that Obama took the time to shake hands with each person there.
Sandra Johnson encouraged everyone to go hear the candidates. It gives you a much better idea of what the candidate really is like than what you see or hear on the news clips.
A report was given on the “Liberty Project”. This is a non-partisan group dedicated to educate young people about our constitution.
After the committee reports, there was a short break before resuming the meeting.
Under old business, Sandra Johnson declared that the executive committee and the ad hoc committee which wrote the Constitution and By Laws will meet and revise those documents and will bring the revised version back to the group at the next meeting. She requested that if anyone has suggested changes they should email them to one of the officers or the committee. Everett Burham commended the committee on the work they have done to this point.
Under new business, Terry Philips reported on the petition for the special election. First, he thanked the group for the Get Well card (he had been in the hospital to remove his appendix). Since he was in the hospital, Sandra Johnson had turned in the petitions. We have only 19 more names than needed for the special election to be held. Terry spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of the three options that will be on the ballot. If we go to districts, all five-supervisor seats are up for election. If the decision is to elect at large, then four seats will be up for election.
John Greener reported on several upcoming events. The Kalona Days parade will be Saturday, June 16th. Bob Spinner will provide a hayrack. Dave Ciha will provide a tractor to pull it. We need as many people as possible to ride on the rack. Louise Frakes will put out an email to remind people. We will meet at Max Cast.
June 30th is Riverside Trek Fest and parade. We will use the same set up as at Kalona.
July 4th is the Wellman parade. Dave Ciha cannot provide the tractor for this parade. Steve Maxon and Doris Park will be the contact people for this parade.
The County Fair is July 15 – 20th. We will need people to set up our booth and people to man it. Bob Spinner volunteered to help Sandra Johnson set up the booth. Louise Frakes will have a sign up sheet at our next meeting for people to sign up for 2 hour shifts.
Kay Ciha is now the chair of the candidate aspect of Renewable on Parade. She said she will need lots of volunteers to help her. We will need to meet and greet candidates, help set up and tear down the stage, etc. The tickets are 50% off now through June 30th. She said she has heard from some of the surrounding counties and they are expecting invitations to come and help.
John Greener read a short memorial write up in honor of Phyllis Carter. It read, “It has become a tradition for Washington County Democrats to remember our comrades in New Business because their work is not yet finished. Phyllis Carter was a woman of many causes. To each cause she choose she gave her best effort. She made every place she was a better place to be. We are grateful that Phyllis chose the Democratic Party as one of her causes. We must all work harder to make up for her lose.”
Sandra Johnson reported that the place and precinct captains must be sent to the state by August 1st. Sandra asked for help finding new Precinct Captains. Several names were suggested. Sandra will call those people and confirm who will take those responsibilities.
Because our next meeting would fall the day before the July 4th celebrations, the meeting will be moved to Tuesday, July 10th at 7:00 pm at the Halcyon House Day Lounge. Meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm.
Louise Frakes, secretary