Cautiously Optomistic

Last Tuesday was a good day for Progressives in Wisconson. We saw national headlines like ABC's "Democrat's upset in Wisconsin race sparks hope elsewhere". In the 58th Assembly District West Bend's Democrat Dennis Degenhardt won 43 percent of the vote; in 2016, Hillary Clinton won just 28 percent of the vote there, and no Democrat even bothered to contest the Assembly seat. Of special note are the results in the city of West Bend where we participated in canvassing.  in 2017 Clinton got only 24.83%. This time around the Dem, Degenhardt, got 51% of the vote last week. That is an increase of over 26 points. CANVASSING WORKS!

The big win, however, was the upset in Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District, where Democrat Patty Schachtner, a medical examiner, beat Republican Adam Jarchow, a member of the State Assembly, by nine points. New York Magazine summarized it:


The rural district’s voting history did not suggest an easy win for Democrats. For the last 17 years, the seat was held by Republican state senator Sheila Harsdorf, who stepped down in November to serve as Governor Scott Walker’s agriculture secretary. In the 2016 election, Harsdorf won by 26 points and Donald Trump won by 17 points; Romney easily took the district in 2012, though Wisconsin went to Obama.

Both sides poured large sums of money into the race: Americans for Prosperity spent at least $50,000 on ads for Jarchow, and together Greater Wisconsin and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee spent around $40,000 on Schachtner.

When asked whether she thought resistance to President Trump helped her win, Schachtner dodged the question.

“I’m just worried about western Wisconsin right now,” she said. “Right now, in western Wisconsin, Wisconsin values is what keeps us going.”


The most important analysis came from Scott Wittkopf at his Progressive Values Blog where he analyzes Patty Schachtner, the candidate, and the campaign.

While Patty’s opponent was focused on an historically successful, conservative message of less taxes, greater personal liberty, and less government in people’s lives (based on authoritarian values of self-interest); the Schachtner campaign did something different from most other Democratic campaigns – she didn’t attack Scott Walker or Donald Trump, or try to connect her opponent to Walker/Trump via an attack strategy. Instead, she communicated her strength – her empathy – a moral responsibility to care for others as yourself (think of The Golden Rule). And what that would mean to the people in Western Wisconsin on important issues.

The first sentence on the home page of her campaign website evokes the progressive frame of empathy:

While our current elected officials have been busy playing politics, Patty has been busy helping people.

She then tells you why that’s important to people’s lives in Western Wisconsin (her constituents to whom she is responsible):

Whether through her work as St. Croix County’s medical examiner addressing the addiction epidemic and mental health crisis, supporting local schools on her school board, or helping community non-profits, Patty is always looking for ways to improve people’s lives.

The message is obvious: We must present what we are for. If we want to win we must be more than not them. We must communicate a clear vision of a positive future that we are ready to implement.

So just a quick reminder: there will be a primary election on February 20, a general election on April 3, another primary on August 14, and the general election on November 6. We're counting on you to vote in each and every one of these. But more than that, we need you to do what you can to help inform other voters and to get out the vote.

Come to the Grassroots North Shore annual winter dinner and meeting on Sunday, January 28, from 5-7pm at North Shore Presbyterian Church to meet three very promising candidates for Congress: Randy Bryce (running against Paul Ryan in the 1st congressional district), Tom Palzewicz (running against Jim Sensenbrenner in the 5th congressional district), and Dan Kohl (running against Glenn Grothman in the 6th congressional district). They'll each give a brief speech and will spend some time chatting with attendees. So don't miss this chance to meet these candidates. RSVP on our website or on Facebook.


Tue Jan 23, 2018

Christine Rahlf Campaign Kickoff Celebration, 5:30 pm - 6 pm
The Fermentorium Brewery and Tasting Room, 7481 WI-60 Trunk, Cedarburg 53012

Enjoy craft beers at the Fermentorium and make some new friends! Join special guest Khary Penebaker and fellow progressives to celebrate the start of Chris Rahlf's campaign for Assembly District 60. Any level of support is welcome but not necessary to attend. Online donations. Sponsorship levels available: Host: $500 | Sponsor: $100 | Supporter: $50.

Wed Jan 24, 2018

Refuel the Resistance, 5 pm - 8 pm
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee

Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of your civic resistance from the last week to get a beverage (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

Emily Siegrist’s Campaign Kickoff, 5:30 pm– 7:30 pm
Libby Montana Bar and Grill

Enjoy drinks and mingle! Join special guest Khary Penebaker along with other progressives to kick off Emily's campaign for the 24th Assembly District! Sponsorship levels: Host $500 | Sponsor $100 | Supporter $25. Any donation is appreciated but none is necessary. Contribute online.

GRNS Book Club: Runaway Inequality, 6 pm - 8 pm
GRNS office, 5600 W. Brown Deer Rd., Suite 116, Brown Deer

Join Grassroots North Shore in a two-hour discussion focused on the book "Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice," by Les Leopold (available from Boswell Book Store). The program is open to the public but please RSVP before January 15. Participation is limited to 10. More information and RSVP.

Drinking Liberally Glendale, 7 pm - 9 pm
Bar Louie, 5750 N. Bayshore Dr., Glendale

Drinking Liberally Glendale meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Come drink a beverage or two of your choice and talk about Liberal stuff. More information.

Thu Jan 25, 2018

Former Offender Organizations Meeting, 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Villard Square Library, 5190 N. 35th St., Milwaukee

The chief purpose of this meeting for organizational leaders is to create an on-going relationship, consensus, and cooperation between all Milwaukee area organizations that service the ex-offender and currently incarcerated community. More information.

Waukesha Writers Club, 6:30 pm - 8 pm
336 Wisconsin Ave, Waukesha

The "Letter to the Editor" section is one of the most widely read parts of the newspaper, offering a chance to reach a broad audience. Letters to our legislators are also an effective way to let them know what we expect of them. Working together gives us the opportunity to discuss the current issues, improve writing skills, develop persuasive techniques that target intended readers, and help each other with ideas and suggestions. Sponsored by Grassroots Waukesha ([email protected]).

Fri Jan 26, 2018

Putting our Rivers on a Low Salt Diet, 11 am - 2 pm
Mo's Irish Pub Wauwatosa, 10842 W Bluemound Rd, Wauwatosa

Join us as we learn about the environmental impacts of chloride on water quality, aquatic animals, and plants while enjoying lunch at Mo’s Irish Pub in Wauwatosa. We all want safe winter driving conditions, but using chloride-based de-icing products, also known as road salt, can come at a cost. Chloride is very soluble in water and has numerous negative effects on water quality, animal health, and plant life. It also poses risks to pets, wild animals, and soil health. Come hear about the challenges that chloride and road salt present to our waterways, and learn the steps you can take to put our three rivers on a low salt diet. Cost: $15 for the entire event; $13 if you are a member of Milwaukee Riverkeeper. Register Here! For more information contact SWAN Coordinator Dan Gray, 414-731-0570.

Sat Jan 27, 2018

Community Brainstorming, 8 am - 11 am
St. Matthew CME Church, 2944 N. 9th St., Milwaukee

Breakfast: 8 am, Program: 9 am. Topic: "We Too: Voicing Sexual Harassment in the African American Community" Brenda Coley (Co-Exec. Director, Milwaukee Water Commons) "Creating Change Among the Gatekeepers: Understanding the Continuum of Sexual Violence from Patriarchy to Toxic Masculinity" Dr. Sameena Mulla (Assoc. Professor, Marquette University) "When Black Women Speak Out About Sexual Violence: Racism and the Search for Justice" Dr. Amber Tucker (Adjunct Professor, Cardinal Stritch University) "Unpacking Intersectionality: Understanding Sexual Violence in the Lives of Black Women and Girls in the Black Community" Moderator: Dr. Ruth Russell Chair: Hon. Russell Stamper Sr. All Are Invited, Come and Participate. More info.

Candidate Healthcare Jeopardy, 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Milwaukee Area Technical College, Room S-120, 700 W. State St., Milwaukee

Come watch the candidates in the Democratic Primary for Governor compete over their healthcare knowledge and political stances! Everyone is welcome, particularly health care professionals. There will be time to chat with the candidates afterward. RSVP on our website or on Facebook Sponsored by Working Families Party, Our Wisconsin Revolution, Wisconsin People's Choice, and Citizen Action.

New Poor People's Campaign, 10 am - 12 pm
Labor Council Hall, 633 S. Hawley Rd. Milwaukee

Please join the New Poor People's Campaign to launch a state-wide campaign for moral justice. This meeting will lay out an action plan and the role you can play in improving the lives of poor people in Wisconsin. You will also hear from faith leaders, community organizers, and impacted citizens who have embraced this moral struggle for justice. More information.

Stand for Peace, 12 pm - 1 pm
Brady Street & Farwell Avenue

Stand for peace in the streets of Milwaukee, every Saturday at noon. Organized by the United Nations Association of Milwaukee, Peace/Conflict Committee.

Sun Jan 28, 2018

Sunday Demonstration, 12pm - 1pm
Cutler Park, Wisconsin Avenue, Waukesha

What are you most concerned about? Social justice, democracy, the environment? Join us for a silent demonstration. We meet at Cutler Park in Waukesha on the sidewalk along Wisconsin Avenue near the Public Library. Bring a sign or use one of ours. Sponsored by Grassroots Waukesha.

GRNS Annual Meeting / Dinner, 5pm - 7pm
Northshore Presbyterian Church, Shorewood

Join your friends at the Grassroots North Shore Annual Meeting. Ward off winter’s chill with hot and hearty sandwiches, bring a bottle for the wine draw, and hear Robert Kraig and congressional candidates discuss how to take back the House in 2018! RSVP on our website or on Facebook.

Mon Jan 29, 2018

Supreme Court Justice Q&A, 5:45pm - 8:15pm
Greenfield Library, 5310 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield

Citizens Coalition will present an event in advance of the upcoming spring election: Two candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice will answer questions presented by former Chief Justice Janine Geske. A presentation about registering to vote online will outline the requirements for ID and Proof of Residence. Citizens Coalition is nonpartisan and welcomes all who are interested.


Wed Jan 31, 2018

Wisconsin: Shaping American Law, 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
Marquette University, Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee map
State laws affect nearly every aspect of our daily lives—our safety, personal relationships, and business dealings—but receive less scholarly attention than federal laws and courts. Joseph A. Ranney looks at how state laws have evolved and shaped American history, through the lens of the historically influential state of Wisconsin.
Good is Not Good Enough: Repositioning Nonprofits as a Force for Systems Change, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Milwaukee Public Library Washington Park Branch, 2121 N Sherman Blvd, Milwaukee, WI 53208, USA map
The Nonprofit Center of Greater Milwaukee proposes that while the nonprofit sector must continue to provide services and supports to individuals in need, “we must now reposition the community based nonprofit sector as a powerful force for social change at the underlying systems level”.

Refuel the Resistance, 5 pm - 8 pm
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee

Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of your civic resistance from the last week to get a beverage (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

How to Talk About Guns and Protection, 7 pm  - 8:30 pm                                                                                                        Grassroots North Shore, 5600 W. Brown Deer Rd. #116, Brown Deer WI, Brown Deer                                                           Way too many people believe that the best way to protect yourself against guns, is to have a gun. In fact, a number of progressives think this is true. But the facts say different. Jeri Bonavia, Executive Director with WAVE will hold a session on the reality of guns and self-protection and better yet, give you approaches on how to talk about this issue plainly, with authority and with the ability to change minds.

Thurs Feb 1, 2018

State Rep David Bowen's All Black Birthday Affair, 6 pm - 9 pm                                                                                              Ugly's, 1125 N Old World 3rd St, Milwaukee, WI 53203                                                                                                             Join David for his 31st Birthday!  Bowen's All Black Birthday Affair will be a night of laughing, dancing, and progressive politics as we celebrate State Representative David Bowen’s 31st Birthday!

From Swastika to Jim Crow, Film Screening and Talk Back, 7 pm - 9 pm                                                                                  The Jewish Museum Milwaukee, 1360 N Prospect Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53202                                                                  This is the beginning of a series, Allied in the Fight: Jews, Blacks and the Struggle for Civil Rights explores the partnership between Jewish and African American leaders in confronting systematic racism in the United States. The exhibit addresses Black-Jewish collaboration within the Civil Rights Movement and the complicated nature of Jewish contributions to the Civil Rights movement through artifacts, archival materials, and information from a national perspective.   

GRNS Book Group Discussion, Sat Feb 3, 2018, 9:30 am - 11:30 am                                                                                               Grassroots North Shore, 5600 W Brown Deer Rd, #116, Brown Deer, WI                                                                                 Our first meeting will examine these questions: What is the cost of increasing runaway economic inequality in our country? What is causing it? How does it affect our economy, our politics, and our society? Can it be corrected and if so, how? Please join us in a two-hour discussion focused on the book, Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice, by Les Leopold.

You will need to read Runaway Inequality before the session. It is a quick and easy read. To support independent bookstores we encourage you to buy your book from Boswell’s Book Store located at 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee. The phone number is (414) 3312-118. It may be available at your local library. If not, ask them to carry it.

Mon Feb 5, 2018

Drinking Liberally Waukesha, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm                                                                                                                          Clarke Irish Pub, 314 W. Main St., Waukesha 

Tues Feb 6, 2018

On the Issues: Racial Reconciliation, 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm                                                                                                Marquette University, Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee                                                                               Sharon Morgan is a black woman from Chicago’s South Side, a descendant of slaves on both sides of her family. Thomas DeWolf is a white man from rural Oregon who descends from the largest slave-trading dynasty in U.S. history. Over a three-year period, the pair traveled thousands of miles, both overseas and through 27 states. They visited ancestral towns, courthouses, cemeteries, plantations, antebellum mansions, and historic sites. "Gather at the Table" is the story of their journey. RSVP required:  

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