Sunday, April 29, 2012

2012 2nd District Democratic Convention

Saturday, April 28, 2012, Ft. Madison, Iowa

The 2nd District Democrats in Iowa, held their Presidential Election Year Convention in Ft. Madison, Iowa.

All 8 delegates were present, in addition to Jan Gallagher, a Washington County alternate were in attendance.  However, Jan ended up serving as a delegate in place of an absent Johnson County delegate.

In addition to all of the regular activity, a new Platform was finally adopted and various 2nd District officers were elected.  Adhali Larios-Hernandez was elected to the position of Affirmation Action Chair for the 2nd District.

Adhali will now be responsible for the Affirmative Action planning and operations in the 24 county area of the Iowa 2nd District.

Dave Loebsack was the keynote speaker at the event and outlined the district challenges for this upcoming election season.

It was certainly a long event, with Platform debate, issue balloting, ballot counting for 2nd District office holders and 2nd District delegates to the National Convention going past 8 p.m.

Although it was a long trip and long day that started at 8:00 a.m., the event was exciting.  Now on to the State Convention in June!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Obama Visits University of Iowa - April 25, 2012

After a nearly 3 and a half hour wait, we were granted the opportunity to see Barack Obama live and up close.  That's right, we were just a few feet from the speakers podium.

The emphasis of the talk, was the opportunity made available through both Pell Grants & Stafford loans.

The President emphasized the importance of keeping the interest rates on student loans at the low level set 5 years ago, to avoid the increase that was automatically built into the program when the interest rates were cut in half 5 years ago.  The interest rate would increase from approximately 3% to 6% on July 1st of this year, unless Congress acts before that date.

There was a large packed group of students that were very enthusiastic about the speech, as the pep band from the University played both before and after the event.

The President emphasized that keeping an education affordable was "All about the economy."  He stated that only through a good education system that provided opportunity to all of our young people can this country truly have a promising future.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 2012 Monthly meeting

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

April Minutes


Meeting, April 11, 2012

Washington County Democrats met Wednesday, April 11, 2012, at 7 p.m. in a second floor meeting room of the Washington Public Library. Eighteen people attended.

Chairman Peter Morrison called the meeting to order and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pete asked about any changes to the minutes for the county convention and the March meeting. There was no comment, so they will be filed in our archives.

Treasurer Kay Ciha distributed copies of the financial report for March 10 to April 11, 2012. Cash balance on March 10, 2012, was $2,151.83. Income during that period came from memberships, donations and shirts at the county convention, and amounted to $577.00. Expenses were $90.74, to Custom Impressions for county convention copies. Cash available on April 11, 2012, was $2,638.09. The treasurer’s report will be filed for audit.

Pete gave the Report of the Chair, and copies were available of district and state convention delegates and alternates. Also, Arrangements, Rules, Platforms, etc., are in place for 2nd District. Those people have attended the various committee meetings and a platform has been developed from the 2nd District. There are new rules and regulations regarding the makeup of the 2nd District. The 2nd District convention is April 28, and preparations are in progress. We will need to make arrangements for that. Regarding the Washington Democrats’ paying for the convention expenses for the delegates and alternates, Kay said the delegates and alternates can pay their fees, etc., and we can reimburse them.

Committee Reports. Adhali Larios announced that he would be running for 2nd District Affirmative Action position. However, he has mandatory military training so cannot be at the meeting. Pete added that Adhali had been attending all the 2nd District meetings and also working with Sarah Sedlacek in her campaign.

Old Business. Pete reminded people that county dues are now due. Since this is an election year, he would appreciate everyone’s signing up and being ready to serve in the parades, at the county fair and other events.

Supervisor candidates were invited to speak. Richard Gilmore said he had attended a Free County debate and had met some of the Republican opponents. He said he was not sure how well the Republicans are going to do against the incumbents. The Free County members are for no zoning, and they have also now picked up the Richmond situation with RUSS (Regional Utilities Systems Services). He said the Republicans got us into this mess and Democrats will have to get us out of it. Planned Parenthood was also at issue, as to whether it should be partially funded or dropped.

Kay clarified the supervisor districts up for election this year -- they are districts 1, 2 and 4. When the districts were changed, she was in District 2 and is now in District 1. The incumbent will not seek re-election. Two Republicans are running, Jack Seward Jr. and Matthew Latham. Kay is the only Democrat running, so she will have no contest in the primary election on June 5. She said Democrats are outnumbered in District 1, which is heavily Republican, but they’re a lot of Independents and she has already picked up a lot of Republican votes. She stated that, if candidates indicate what they stand for, usually they do pretty well. The zoning ordinance and the Richmond fiasco will be addressed. Kay discussed the Richmond debacle: The state hygienic lab lost the samples from Richmond and there is no indication whether samples are human or otherwise. The Richmond residents who are against RUSS have filed two lawsuits.

Jim Gorham asked if Kay could resolve this issue without negative impact on her campaign.

Kay stated that Shiloh’s lagoon is going, and she believes the Shiloh people will wait until the Richmond lagoon is finished and then will hook up to it without any charge. Upon questioning, Kay said she plans to use her energy to get to the bottom of this problem and also the fact that the supervisors didn’t listen to the people who put them into office, regarding the Richmond situation and the zoning ordinance. These are things the majority didn’t want, and that got put through. Kay offered to answer any questions and said Richard would do the same thing.

Terry Philips said there was one more person running for supervisor in District 2, and mentioned the possible need to hold a special convention for naming her as candidate. Dawn McCoy lives in Riverside and is running for the District 2 supervisor seat. Dawn was introduced.

There was debate about the possible special convention. Kay clarified that Dawn can run as a write-in candidate in the primary. If she gets a certain number of votes (around 46 or 48), her name will automatically be on the November ballot. If she doesn’t get the required number of votes, then we will have a convention after the primary and will nominate her by convention -- and from that process her name will be on the November ballot. Only District 2 residents can vote, and in order to vote they must be present at that special convention.

Dawn spoke, and said she has some political experience. She was mayor of Riverside and on the Riverside city council.

New Business. Pete said the governor is disappointed to lose the lawsuit on Workforce Development and is thinking of doing away with Workforce Development entirely.

An Events Committee chair is needed and Pete asked if anyone would be willing to serve on that. Adhali asked about it, and this chairmanship involves organizing the various events such as parades. A worker with the Obama campaign (Allison) is like the OFA of this area for activities and is trying to recruit some more people. She wrote to Pete, wanting a lot of different sites for various meetings and events, etc., to be provided to her. For events and appearances on the state or national level, she would like to have locations in place for them.

Before the election, events would include parades during the summer. After that, we will need to set up a headquarters office. The Events chair is not really in charge of that but could organize some events to be held within the office.

Pete plans on doing to try to establish the whole parade schedule by May.

John Greener said he didn’t want to be Events chair but could be someone’s right-hand man. John has offered his home to U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack on Saturday, May 5, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. John will provide beverages such as coffee and lemonade, and asked that we supply some desserts to go with them. A number of people offered to help with that. As for how many people to expect, consensus was that there would probably be 30 to 40 people attending.

Henry Marquard spoke for the Loebsack campaign. He said he is here after a leave of absence, to again work on Loebsack’s campaign. He provided a copy of upcoming things. He said the redistricting meant Loebsack went from a Plus-7 advantage district to a Plus-4 -- making the campaign a lot more expensive and difficult. We lost Linn County from the old district and picked up 10 new ones. It will be, he reiterated, an expensive campaign. The Republican challengers are on the watch list -- top picks, which will be gunning for Dave. The present campaign promises to be at least as difficult as, and probably more so than, the last campaign was. They are looking at him as a Liberal who can speak well to Independents and moderates. We face high Republican places like Bettendorf and Pella, which are “high-money Republican areas.” The opponent is taking on our entire party because of gay rights, contraception, etc. Jobs are going to be a big focus for us. John Archer of John Deere has resided in Iowa for only two years. Dan Dillon, in the real estate business, lives in Blue Grass, and he could reportedly self-fund a campaign with his great wealth. He is socially moderate and fiscally conservative. Archer is all-around conservative. Archer, it is believed, was recruited in Washington; D.C. Republicans are doing everything they can into taking Democrats out of the Senate. We will need to really focus on getting Democrats to vote and also to persuade swing voters. Henry invited anyone to ask questions. His phone number is 563-299-7568, and his e-mail address is:><.

For events, parades, etc., we need to learn the dates and therefore our involvement, and we should have the parades-events schedules available by the May 9 meeting. There is a 2nd District meeting Sunday. They are trying to resolve any conflicts within the various committees. The 2nd District is hoping to have every county provide some kind of basket unique to the county, which will be raffled off. Robin Plattenberger volunteered to make the basket from Washington County. We will discuss parade participation May 9.

The next monthly meeting will be held May 9, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the 2nd floor meeting room at the Library.

Respectfully submitted,

Nan Stark, Secretary

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

OfA Youth Summit - Uni. of Iowa

A large youth summit was held in Iowa City on April 10, 2012, and sponsored by Organizing for America and the University of Iowa Young Democrats.

The theme of the event was "Greater Together", and featured Mitch Stewart, current OFA Battleground States Director as well as Kal Penn -- who you may know from the Harold and Kumar movies, the TV show "House" and who is also a former White House Liaison.

It was an interesting event broadcast to many other campus location throughout the state. This event was the kick off of the political season before finals and the end of school in about 6 weeks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Washington County Convention - 2012 - March Meeting


Meeting, March 10, 2012

The Washington Democratic Party County Convention was held Saturday, March 10, 2012, which, following registration and refreshments, began at noon, in the former Washington Public Library building at 120 East Main Street in Washington.

County chair Pete Morrison led the assembled group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pete moved that Terry Philips be named permanent chair of the county convention and that Pete and Nan Stark play the role of secretary. Bob Spenner seconded, and motion carried.

Sandra Johnson proposed and moved that we seat all registered Democrats in the room who are residents of Washington County, to this convention, in order to achieve quorum, and that everyone be a delegate. The motion was seconded. The motion carried.

Candidates spoke. Brian French represented U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack. He read a letter from Rep. Loebsack, pointing out that we have important decisions to make about the direction of our country and what our priorities will be, in a fight for middle class, seniors, families, etc. He asked that before leaving the convention we sign the petitions or sign up to volunteer. He thanked all for the hard work they do for the community. Brian said he had bumper stickers, petitions, etc., available.

Rich Taylor, a state Senate candidate to a district south of us, spoke. Terry also urged us to support three townships to the south of us with candidates for state Senate. Mr. Taylor said he was from the Mount Union area and lives south of Mount Pleasant. He represents the three southern townships of Washington County and likens this to our having a stepsister or stepbrother. We have a lot of issues about jobs here. Southern Lee County is in bad shape, and what is good for one county is often good for all -- we need more business in southeast Iowa. Mr. Taylor said he has knocked on lots of doors in his district. He believes we have to be concerned about jobs rather than gun laws, for example, at present. We need to watch out for education; the governor and the Legislature want to cut funding to the schools, universities, etc. If we get the jobs, we’ll have the funding and be able to take care of our schools, firefighters, police officers, etc.

Terry Philips spoke of Sarah Sedlacek from near Muscatine County. It’s good to consider supporting Sarah. Anyone who wants to participate in a representative race, please do.

Two candidates running for county supervisor seats spoke. Richard Gilmore is a candidate in District 4, which includes wards 1 and 4. This covers everything east of Franklin Township and south of Highway 92 (everything south of Highway 92 is in the Ward 4 district). The district is part of the city of Washington, but the city and the county have problems. School problems seem uppermost. There are increases in our taxes for water, etc. County did not get enough verbal response when they proposed a roads plan. Some apathy is part of the problem. “Another part is the person who represents District 4 has to represent the people who live in the city, too. County supervisors in other wards must also represent the city people as well. Mr. Gilmore would plan to represent all of the residents in the school, the city and the county.

Kay Ciha is a candidate for county supervisor in District 1. She lives just south of Kalona. She said this is a new venture for her, and she would appreciate help in any aspect of running. It is a big district and covers a huge land area. There are lots of miles to walk in this district. It includes Wellman and West Chester, and the rest of the district is rural. It has the townships to the very west next to the county line. Her reasons for running include addressing the rural problems a little more. She plans to address and discuss and rescind zoning, which has ordinances that should never have been included. About 390 people spoke out against it and 10 for it. She wants to address very strongly the town of Richmond. She stated that 95 percent of Richmond does not need the new septic system. Someone should have listened and talked to them instead of just railroading through a mandated septic system through. The people in that town are suffering. The third thing would be roads in this county that have been widened, graveled or paved. A specific example of this is the road to Shiloh -- only $670 is paid a year for property taxes in this area. All the rest is written off because of their religious affiliation. That money and road work should have gone to more-used roads.

Also pertinent is Kay’s financial background, which she was asked to speak about. She worked for Minn. North American for 33 years and the last few years in customer relations and in the accounting department. She moved to Kalona because zoning laws prevented her and her husband from house construction on land they owned in Johnson County -- zoning spokespersons declared the land farmland even though it was hilly and covered in timber. She also worked for a bank in Iowa City, then Gay and Ciha Funeral Home in Iowa City, owned by her son, and did accounting work. She did Pohaku accounting for five years.

We needed to recognize that Kay and Richard have worked very hard and this is ongoing. Elected officials present were also recognized.

Eight delegates were needed for April and June, district and state conventions. Delegates named were Doris Park and Steve Maxon, Pate Morrison, Adhali Larios-Hernandez, Bob Spenner, Terry Philips, Martha Dahlin and Sandra Johnson. Terry moved and Bob seconded that these eight be our delegates to district and state conventions. Motion carried. Alternates are Jan, Diane, Matt, Nate Beattie, Fred Stark, Richard Gilmore, Bob and Julie Goodrich and Mike. It was noted that alternates can also be seated as alternates from out of the county, as needed. Richard moved to elect these nine submitted alternates. Fred seconded. Motion carried.

Pete said he had forms that everyone serving as delegate or alternate needs to fill out before leaving this meeting. There is a charge for both the district and the state convention. Washington Democratic Party pays that charge for the people coming -- or at least the party has done so in the past. It is budgeted to do this again.

Four of the people serving as delegates or alternates needed to be elected to serve on district convention committees. Bob moved that Adhali be named for the Platform Committee. Motion was seconded. It was moved and seconded that Bob be alternate on the Platform Committee. Arrangements -- next meeting will be in Mount Pleasant. Rules and Nominations --Pete will serve, and Steve will be alternate. Credentials -- Sandra Johnson. Terry moved, and motion was seconded, that Pete will serve on Rules and Nominations, and motion carried. It was moved and seconded that Steve M. would be the alternate on Rules and Nominations, and motion carried. Pete moved that Sandra Johnson serve on Credentials. Motion was seconded and motion carried.

The group was then ready to address the Platform adoption.

March Meeting of Washington County Democratic Party

The March meeting of the Washington County Democrats took place Saturday afternoon, March 10, 2012, at the conclusion of the Washington County Convention, in the former Washington Public Library.

Pete Morrison, county chair, announced that the April 11 meeting will be at 7 p.m. because we have not changed the time frame to CDT.

Kay Ciha, treasurer, said we had spent around $90 for the printing of the platforms. Cash on hand on 2/8/12 was $1,407.66. Income from memberships was $849.00, bringing the cash-on-hand total to $2,256.66. Expenses were $104.83 for Staples (ink and membership blanks). Cash available on 3/10/12 is $2,151.83. We are about $1,500 below the amount we had in the treasury two or three years ago -- we have that much less than we had in 2010.

Louise Frakes announced that the Democratic Party fundraiser in Fairfield will be a political trivia contest on April 1 and urged individuals, or teams of four, to register and participate. The contest takes place at Best Western in Fairfield. The cost is $25 for a four-member team, or $10 for an individual, and the prize is $100 for the winner to give to his or her favorite candidate or back to the county.

Motion was made and seconded to adjourn, motion passed, and meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Nan Stark, Secretary