Not surprisingly, I attended the recent Democratic Party of Wisconsin 2016 State Convention. There was one surprise when I checked in. It consisted of a "free upgrade" to the "Ceasar Suite". (I'm convinced the cleaning woman never had an easier time, or that room had a more boring night than the one that I spent in it)
I have the honor of being the Chair for the WisDems Veteran Caucus. It was going to be the first meeting that I had the privilege of "chairing". We had the honor of being visited by Russ Feingold and Senator Tammy Baldwin. We had Congressional candidates. We also were very happy to get a visit by Democratic Representatives to the Assembly Dianne Hesselbein, Christine Sinicki, and Tod Ohnstad. They sit on the Assembly Veterans Committee. The meeting was scheduled to last for 45 minutes. It went on for an hour and a half.
Nobody was in a hurry to leave. Most of what took place was positive. Actually, all of what took place was positive. When veterans talk - even if we complain, and, someone listens - it's a positive thing.
Veterans have EARNED the right to be heard. It would be easy to go off on a tangent right now into a patriotic rant, but, that's not the reason why I decided to sit down and throw some words together. Let me just end this thought by writing that I really look forward to annually being in a room of those who signed on a dotted line to put their lives on another line if need be. Veterans from all different periods were in attendance. Some complained about the "exclusivity" of certain vet groups, or needing to meet certain criteria before being recognized in groups outside of the one that we were in. The WisDems Veteran Caucus is the only one that accepts everyone.
The remainder of the evening was filled with amazing speeches from members of Congress, the U.S. Senate, and, ended with the current Secretary of Labor Tom Perez firing up the crowd in a big way.
Saturday began by wiping sleep out of my eyes due to an early start. The Resolutions and Bylaws voting was to take place. I put forth a resolution that would help Building Trades unions with a "Responsible Bidder" provision. Prevailing Wage is to be repealed in 2017 thanks to a political attack on us that will only serve to make it more difficult for local contractors to win bids. The provision states that jobs using tax dollars requires contractors who place bids to be responsible. That's basically the jist of it. Don't cheat, don't lie, and, pay into state funds that take care of our workers. The resolution passed.
I had been contacted earlier in the week by State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein who asked if I would be interested in another resolution that would address an earlier attack on how veterans receive help from the state. It was written up, and, it also passed. Rep. Hesselbein is to be commended for her energy directed at taking care of all who Served. (to include her husband, a veteran)
Both of the resolutions were victories. They weren't written about in local papers, or, advertised on television. Nevertheless, they passed, and, became part of who we as Democrats are.
Later in the morning I had the honor of nominating Jason Rae to be reelected to the DNC. He won. (actually WE all won as a result)
Now for the more difficult part of this piece.
This year the motto was "Unite. Vote. Win."
I was curious how the two days would go after reading about a few states where the conventions became contentious.
The only time this year's convention had grumblings was during the raffle when a few people won more than one basket. Hardly an occasion to wear tin foil.
Overall there was a tremendous amount of unity on display. Even all of the candidates running for the four DNC spots were cordial to each other. I would have worn all of their stickers had I not publicly endorsed two of them. (Jason Rae and Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy)
A moment of excitement was looking forward to the vote on whether or not the DPW officially chose to change the "superdelegate" rule. Personally, I am in favor of changing it. It went through with a huge majority of those in the audience.
When it all came to an end, I almost wished that it would have lasted another day. I really look forward to seeing everyone from throughout the state that I don't get to see very often.
Mission accomplished for the #Unity part. As far as the next step - it's not always good Democrats voting who lose an election. It's good Democrats who don't vote that cost us elections.
There is too much at stake to not get every single person to the polls in November. We need a big win in Wisconsin in so many seats.
There's also a Presidential election I am told. (I will be addressing the POTUS election separately)
Within the state we can't afford to be divided. We need to bring sanity back.
Get. Out. The. Vote.
Unity. Vote. Win.
It really is that simple.