Sunday, May 23, 2010

May Meeting of the Washington County Democrats

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

May Minutes

Minutes of the May Meeting

The Washington County Democrats met in the Game Room at the Halcyon House on Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, with 20 individuals present. The Chair, Louise Frakes, called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm with the group reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing You’re a Grand Old Flag.

Minutes of the last meeting held on April 13, 2010 were available in written form for the group. Minutes were also posted on the blog and sent to all of those with e-mail addresses. It was noted that the minutes of the April meeting were revised in the exec review process and to make the minute preparation process easier, that if changes are suggested that such changes be made in each respective paragraph. Louise Frakes made a request for changes or additions. Those included a number of wording changes, attendance correction and the correct spelling of names. Motion was made by Harold Frakes and seconded that the final minutes be worked out between Louise and Pete, and those minutes be used. The April minutes were revised to those specifications and used.

Treasurer Kay Ciha presented the current Treasurer’s Report for April, and written copies were provided to the group, said report reflected a balance of $3,904.44, as of May 11, the report was approved and will be filed for audit.

Barb Edmondson was asked to speak on her candidacy for County Attorney. She stated that she had been very busy, but was planning on getting out and speaking to groups, with greater focus on campaigning.

The Chairperson asked Shayna Kurland to speak on behalf of Becky Schmitz, and she indicated, that the fundraiser planned for May 12, 2010 between 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the 4H building at the Fairgrounds in Washington was tomorrow night. The featured speaker would be Christie Vilsack.

The Chairperson, then asked Rodney Stogdill, supervisor candidate, to speak. Rodney will be contacting KCII and talking with Washington County groups.

The Chairperson, then asked Linda Brown, supervisor candidate, to speak. Linda indicated that she would be working on campaign matters and meeting with people and groups.

Tom Antosiak has been elected to fill Terry Philips former position on the county level. Tom mentioned that he had visited with the VA Hospital in Iowa City and found that there was a great need for magazines for the waiting room areas. Magazines could be dropped off at his residence at 416 E. Main in Washington.

The Chair noted that she felt that the retreat had been successful and that the issues covered were helpful, focusing on the coordinated campaign effort and the virtual phone bank.

The Chair also noted that a small group met with Alison R. Hart, a representative from Senator Harkin’s office. It was noted that a short synopsis was provided on the blog.

Harold Frakes passed out a handout, which outlined the various parades this summer. He said the details were being formulated. The first one coming up was the Washington Ridiculous Day parade and Pete indicated that he would help with that one as he lived in Washington and Barb Edmondson also said she would help. Bob Spenner said he would bring the trailer for the float. Bob would pick up the decorations from Becky’s Fund Raiser. Those able to ride the float and to help set it up should watch their email to discover where and when to meet. Further, Harold said that the Frakes’ would be in Colorado so it will be up to the rest to see that we have a good showing at this parade.

Old Business:

The Chair moved on to old business. The Chair clarified who actually attended the 2nd District event and who substituted for whom. The question was asked about individuals pre-paying the attendance fee and the duplicate payment by the group and Kay indicated that the extra payment would simply be a contribution to the Loebsack campaign.

The Chairperson called for other old business and finding none moved to new business.

New Business:

The Chair noted that the Grassley retirement party would be held on Sunday, May 23, 2010 between 2-4 p.m. at the John Greener residence. An invitation would be sent to everyone.

Details of the Becky Schmitz fundraiser were outlined and decorations and food issues were covered.

Campaign HQ office options were discussed and motion was made, seconded and approved to allow Louise and Kay the authority to decide on the best location.

The Chair called for any other new business and finding none, the meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

Members were invited to stay and continue their discussions of the evening’s business after the meeting is adjourned.

Next meeting will be held Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter G. Morrison, Secretary

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Republicans Forum o5/21/2010

I know that this is a Democratic Blog, but this was a first opportunity to see what the proverbial Republican candidates running for the Iowa House and Senate had to say. Well, it turned out to be the same tired old lines of cut taxes, reduce government size and cut expenses. Problem was, not one of them seemed to do any of their homework or research. Another interesting thing was that like Arizona, they thought that they could change federal laws in the Iowa House and Senate.

I guess that they missed the fact thatn the last session, the budget was in fact balanced, and substantial spending cuts did take place. They did propose that lobbyists be eliminated by law in Iowa, which I always thought was more of an idea from Democrats.

Some additional interesting comments included, eliminating the salaries for the Democrats in the House and Senate, I assume that meant the Republicans also. Changing the law so that county zoning would be subject to a public vote of the county voters and not at the discretion of the county board of supervisors. That seemed to be a “free county” proposal, apparently forgetting that all of the current board of supervisors are Republicans. Also, I wonder if they checked to see when that law was passed and by whom.

All in all, it was a very uneventful gathering of approximately 26 people, plus 5 candidates and 1 moderator and 5 of those 26 were Democrats that I know of.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fund Raiser for Iowa State Senator Becky Schmitz

We had a reasonable turn out for the event despite the weather on May 12, 2010. Although the total tally was not fully available, we were not far from our intended goal of raising approximately $3,000.00 for Becky’s re-election.

We need to thank all of those responsible for providing the food and helping set up for the event.

The main speaker was Christie Vilsack, who we all know is the wife of ex-Governor and now U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. She talked about her experiences in Washington D.C. and the work of both the Obama administration and the efforts of Tom Vilsack in his role as Secretary of Agriculture. We enjoyed the information that she was able to impart to the group.

This observer certainly felt that the event was a success.

A very happy group of the prominent Democratic women in the area were present for the event and made Christie feel very much at home.

Featured from left to right, Washington Mayor, Sandra Johnson, Christie Vilsack, Washington County Chair, Louise Frakes, Jefferson County Chair, Susie Drish, Iowa State Senator, Becky Schmitz, and Washington County Supervisor Candidate Linda Brown.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Coverage of 2 Day Retreat / Learning Session

The Washington County Democrats held a 2 day combined retreat and learning session, with the first meeting held on Monday, May 3, 2010, and the follow-up session held on Thursday, May 6, 2010. Both sessions were held at the new Washington Public Library in the large meeting room on the 2nd floor. Both meetings lasted approximately 2 hour and were led by Lauren Brainerd, the new Regional Field Director assigned to this area by the IDP [Iowa Democratic Party].

The first session held May 3rd, covered various events and planning for the upcoming mid-term elections. Individuals attending the event broke into small groups with each group assigned planning tasks.

In addition to planning tasks, the group learned about plans, operations and the coordinated campaign ideas and directions of the IDP. This was a learning experience for all of us that attended, and many questions were asked and answered. Although a number of questions still remain, as we are still in the early stages of the 2010 mid-term election season, a great deal of work is developing early and many changes are the result of what was a big learning process in 2008.

The second session on May 6th, mostly covered a review of what was accomplished on the 3rd and the hands on experience using the VAN [Voter Activation Network]. The VAN training largely centered on the new Virtual Phone Bank operation, with everyone having the opportunity to view input screens and ask questions about fields in the data base, as well as input procedures. The large projector screen available to us at the library was a real help.

Many individuals will have the opportunity to help this election season in ways never before possible on a broad level in the Washington area. Plans are in place to have the latest technology available at the Washington County Democrats head quarters, as well as now being able to work from home in those cases where that is more convenient.

I think the two sessions were very helpful and I hope that everyone that attended the events had fun learning what we have coming up over the next several months.

We will have a full report at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Washington County Democrats to be held on May 11, 2010.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tom Harkin - “Friendly Meeting” visit

Harkin Staff person visits several interested citizens from around the county in Washington, Iowa.

On Wednesday, May 5, 2010, a representative from Tom Harkin’s office, Alison R. Hart, a Staff Assistant, met with a few individuals from Washington County, in what she described, as a “Friendly Meeting,” at the Dodici Coffee Shop.

She asked for issues that the group felt were important to address. Questions were asked about issues relating to education, and issues that were being addressed by the U. S. Senate in this session. It was indicated that Iowa had the 3rd highest graduation rate, but the disparity in the graduation rates between whites and African Americans needed improvement, as did the rates between whites and Hispanics.

A number of issues Tom Harkin has been working on, and some ideas his office will be discussing in the future were covered.

It was noted that there was an area in the Harkin web site to suggest pilot projects, and citizens were encouraged to visit the site, at:

Overall the visit was very informative.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

2nd District Democratic Convention - 2010

A summary of the 2010 2nd District Convention:

The 2nd District Democratic Convention was held at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa on April 24, 2010.

The convention was finally underway a little after 10:00 a.m., with short reports and introductions.

The following individuals represented Washington County:

Pete Morrison, Delegate
Kay Ciha, Delegate
Mary Smith, Substitute Delegate Representing Harold Frakes
Linda Brown, Substitute Delegate Representing Louise Frakes
Matt Schaeffer, Delegate
Katrina Schaeffer, Delegate
Sandra Johnson, Delegate
Bob Spenner, Delegate
Tom Antosiak, Substitute Delegate Representing Doris Park

A number of political candidates were present at the convention and spoke to the group. [Please note that we were a distance from the stage, but you can click on the pictures to enlarge.]

Francis Thicke, who is running for Secretary of Agriculture spoke on the future of agriculture, and his campaign.

Our Iowa State Senator Becky Schmitz talked about her re-election campaign.

2nd District Congressman, Dave Loebsack, talked about the past session of congress and the difficulties that confront the country. He spoke on the matter of the floods in our own 2nd District, indicating it was the second worse natural disaster in the country.

Disaster recovery has been difficult and costly, but Dave has spearheaded the effort on a federal level with the help of other congressmen and Senator Tom Harkin.

Dave indicated that he had been unable to campaign as effectively two years ago due to flood recovery responsibilities and efforts being made in Washington, D.C. toward that goal. However, he was successful in his re-election bid then and would be more active this year.

The conventions next speaker was someone we have not seen running for election in recent years.

Roxanne Conlin is running against two other candidates for the opportunity to run against Charles Grassley for the U.S. Senate seat. She spoke about her passion for a better Iowa, and the need this year to replace the long time Republican incumbent.

Unfortunately, we did not have the governor and other state office holders available to speak, as all of the other state districts were held at the same time.

We did hear from many of those individuals running for positions on the 2nd District Central Committee, in their effort to secure those positions for the next two years.

The afternoon session was filled mostly with the completion of platform amendments and the final approval of the 2nd District platform.

Overall, the event was interesting, and it was an opportunity to talk with other county delegates, and those from other counties in the district.

A new balloting procedure was tried out at the 2nd District Convention that is hoped to be implemented at the Iowa State Convention in June. Despite a few glitches in the procedure, it seemed to work, and the computer voting procedure was especially interesting.

The election of the 2nd District Central committee members was interesting, as very few of the long time members were re-elected. It should make for a very interesting workshop in coming months.

The district was interesting, and I look forward to the Iowa State Convention in June.