Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Planning for 2019

Winning in 2018 was great, but where do we go from here?

Since the election, the Oneida County Democrats Executive Committee has been planning activities for 2019. In terms of partisan races, this is an "off off" year, which gives us a chance to focus on building our organization and getting ready for the 2020 races. Of course there will be important spring races, not the least of which is the non-partisan race for the Wisconsin Supreme Course. And across Oneida County there will be elections this spring for school board and town offices. Candidates for these spring races are already determined, and campaigns are gearing up for the April 2 election.

There will also be some town initiatives across the state, and at least one in Oneida County thanks to the good work of Jackie Cody. The residents of Newbold will have an opportunity to weigh in on fair elections through a non-binding advisory referendum. The creation of a non-partisan committee to establish boundaries of electoral districts would replace ther process that has produced the severely gerrymandered boundaries that resulted in the allocation of only 36 percent of assembly seats to the Democrats, while the Democrats actually won 53 percent of the vote cast.

Many of our members will be involved in supporting the good folks who make our local government and schools responsive to the needs of residents. And clearly issues like fair elections, and policies that discourage voting are important to Democrats running for elected office. But still, 2019 is a year when most of our energy will be spent on building organizational strength.

So what are we planning for 2019?

1) Increase membership of the Oneida County Democratic Party. We need to grow our party with younger members if we are to have the volunteers and resources to win elections and support local candidates in our county.

2) Increase awareness among voters about issues that really matter to the quality of life in Oneida County. GOP efforts to restrict health care funding resulted in significantly higher costs for Wisconsin citizens than for our neighbors in Wisconsin. This is just one of many policy issues in which ALEC and other organized corporate forces used the GOP to deny essential services and freedoms to working-class families.

3) Support efforts to register new voters. Our GOP neighbors have been working hard to trim voter rolls by reducing early voting and increasing the hassle of voting. These efforts are more visible downstate than in Oneida County, but they also disproportionately affect individuals with job and family commitments that make it appreciably harder for younger voters to make it to the polls. We know that younger voters tend to vote for more progressive candidates, and that we can make significant progress in making Oneida County and Wisconsin a place where families can thrive if young people vote for candidates who care about the needs of working families.

Starting this month we will be canvassing Democratic voters across Oneida County about these plans. We hope you will join our efforts to build a stronger party and a more family-friendly Wisconsin.