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Green Party of Winona County Meeting Summary – May 24, 2017
Attending: Ray Kiihne, Gene Lauer, Jean Lauer, Brian Mueller, David Seaman, Shelly Vander Linden
Welcome to new member Ray Kiihne!
We have planned a gathering to write and submit letters to the editor. We will meet on June 15th, 2017 at the Acoustic Cafe in Winona. We will have a couple laptops so we can write and submit online. Join us for socializing, food, and activism!!
We discussed a plan of action to encourage the Winona city council to divest from Wells Fargo. Jean suggested that we pursue enacting a social responsibility ordinance similar to one enacted in Seattle. This would give us an opportunity to work with a coalition of groups and people. Jean will contact Engage Winona. Brian will contact WDUA and speak with Jim Gurley. We will also reach out to Marie Kovesci, Pam Eyden, and Paul Schollmeier, who may be inclined to support such an ordinance. We will also continue working with the Human Rights Commission on the immediate goal of divesting from Wells Fargo.
The Green Party of MN state meeting will be held on June 24th at 10:30 am at Walker Community Curch in Minneapolis. There will be elections for at-large positions on the state Coordinating Committee (they are looking for more geographic diversity and are encouraging outstate Greens to run for the positions), voting on possible changes to the bylaws, and will be meeting with and deciding whether to endorse a candidate for US Senate. By running a candidate for national office, the Green Party can qualify for major party status and gain automatic ballot access if our candidate receives votes in every county and receives 5% of the total vote. This is an important step forward for the party.
We are looking into participating in parades in St. Charles, Lewiston, Goodview, La Crescent, Rushford, Houston, Kellogg, and Wabasha. Dates will be forthcoming. We will need ideas for what our unit can look like.
We were not able to set up a table across from the Farmer's Market last Saturday due to weather. We will try this Saturday. If you are interested in tabling this summer, please contact Brian Mueller or email email@example.com.
While we are focused on local activism, we still want to be aware of any candidates who are interested in running for local offices and who share our values. Please let us know if you or someone you know is interested in running for any local office in 2018.
We will be setting up our bank account with Altra Credit Union. David and Brian will set it up as signatories.
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Saturday, May 20th, is the international March Against Monsanto. On that day, the Green Party of Winona County will have a table set up in front of City Hall, across the street from the Farmer's Market from 7:30 am to Noon, to help educate citizens concerning the dangers of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, the threat of the proposed merger of Monsanto and Bayer, and the importance of locally-sourced food that is free of chemicals. Please join us!
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Attending: Bruno Borsari, Emilie Falc, Jean Lauer, Brian Mueller, David Seaman, Linda Van Art, Shelly Vander Linden
The Winona City Council refused to divest from Wells Fargo. City Council member Pam Eyden felt we might need to do more education and advocacy with the council before we bring it up again. She had volunteered to research banking options but her suggestion was not acknowledged by the council. The Winona Human Rights Commission has set up a divestment subcommittee and will be reaching out to the Green Party for assistance in laying the groundwork for a successful divestment effort. For now, Letters to the Editor and calling and talking with council members seems the best plan of action. Emilie pointed out that Seattle was successful because they had a social responsibility policy in place. Is that something we might want to pursue locally? It could be a way to bring together a coalition of local groups.
The Winona County Board of Commissioners approved the conditional use permit for Holden Farms LLC outside St. Charles. The vote was 4-1 with Marie Kovesci voting against. Sadly, we did not mobilize in time to prevent this, and Land Stewardship Project chose not to mobilize. This is a good opportunity for us to get active about water protection. Bruno informed us that less than 1% of the water on the planet is potable. We need to brainstorm ideas how we can educate the public about water protection and the sources of our potable water. Emilie knows someone who may be able to produce a good infographic that we could use. Linda suggested we might consider a billboard.
The Preemption Bill has passed both houses of the Legislature and is headed to the Governor's desk. The only way to prevent this bil from becoming law is for Gov. Dayton to veto it. If it becomes law, it could lead to a fatal weakening of the frac sand mining ban and other local regulations and ordinances. Please call Gov. Dayton's office and encourage him to veto this bill: 1-800-657-3717
Bruno informed us that May 20 is the worldwide March Against Monsanto. Because of the short time period, we decided not to organize a march, but set up a table in front of city hall during the Farmer's Market that morning. We will continue to have a table there every Saturday morning during the Farmer's Market season. This way we can educate the public about issues and raise the profile of the Green Party locally.
There will be a vacancy on the City Planning Commission, and we really need an environmentally-minded member to join who would be able to bring forward issues from the Citizen Committee on Environmental Quality, which has become active again, and on which Bruno currently serves. Please consider applying if you are a city of Winona resident.
Brian and Shelly hosted a rummage sale and are donating the proceeds to the Green Party of Winona. We raised enough to cover the cost of the new banner, and had enough to donate $202.00. Thank you to Shelly, Liza and Xamarie for organizing, accepting donations, and setting up the rummage sale.
Now that we have money, we need to set up a bank account. David will get information about Altra, Merchants, and Winona National. It was decided that the co-chairs and treasurer be allowed to make the decision on where to set up the account. We have been assigned an EIN number and filed the necessary paperwork with the IRS. Once we have the account set up, we then will file with the Campaign Finance Board. The co-chairs and treasurer will sit down with the CFB handbook and set up procedures for our finances so that we are in compliance with CFB regulations.
We purchased a new banner, and will be using it when we table at the Farmer's Market. We can use it at parades and any time we appear in public.
We discussed the idea of focus groups to address specific issues. We discussed meeting more often rather than splitting off. We can maintain momentum and be more responsive by meeting twice a month, and it gives more people the opportunity to attend at least one meeting a month.
We need to increase the frequency of our Letters to the Editor. This helps raise the Green Party profile locally. The local papers have not had many letters lately, so there is a good chance they will publish whatever we send them. If you focus on an issue, please either work in how it connects to the Green Party, or identify yourself as a Green Party member.
We discussed increasing our presence at city council and county board meetings. Emilie suggested we elect an Activism Chair who would keep us informed about issues before the council and board and coordinate actions we can take to support or oppose specific actions. IF anyone is interested, please let one of the co-chairs (Jean Lauer or Brian Mueller) know. We will discuss again at our next meeting.
We need to continue planning for our Fall Film Series at WSU. Bruno suggested it would be best to start the series right away before Labor Day. What theme should we focus on, or how can we connect the films in the series? What speakers can we invite to discuss issues brought up in the movies?
Bruno suggested we reach out to the WSU Environmental Club. There is also a Sustainability Minor conferred by the Biology Department that could be a way to connect on campus.
We are looking into participation in parades and fairs this summer (Goodview, St.Charles, Lewiston). We are too late to apply for the Winona County Fair (a booth costs $190), but could plan for next year, since it is also an election year.
It was discussed whether we want to continue focusing on local activism or fielding candidates. It was felt that continuing local activism is the best way to help our community right now and seems to be the priority for our members. Continued activism will attract people to the party who might be interested in running for office. Meanwhile, we can continue encouraging members to apply for city and county commissions and committees. This would also be in line with our bylaws. This will be an ongoing conversation.
People! Planet! Peace!
Had a wonderful time at the Winona Earth and Arbor Day Celebration at the East End Rec Center. The community garden was under construction next to us and the Winona Farmer's Market was in full gear. The Green Party of Winona County partnered with the Winona Move to Amend working group and gave out free seeds (milkweed, pole beans, cone flower, and pumpkin) to attendees. We participated along with Sustain Winona, Bluff Country Co-op, Citizens Against Sand Mining, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Really Really Really Free Market (It's free. Really!) and Riverway Learning Center. Started the day with a spirited, civil discussion with a DFL supporter, and ended the day with six new people signed up for our email list! Plus, the weather was delightful. Thank you to Tove Wiggs and all those who helped her organize the celebration. Winona is a better community because of all of you!
Please join us next Saturday in Rochester for our Spring Conference!
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We will have a table at the Earth Day Celebration at the East End Rec Center on April 22 from 10 am to 2 pm. Brian will be at the table, everyone is invited to stop by.
The Spring Conference of the Green Party of the First Congressional District will be held on April 29th from Noon to 5pm at the Rochester Public Library Auditorium. Sen. John Marty will deliver the keynote address, via Skype, on single payer universal health care. There will be a light lunch, and you are invited to bring a dish to share if you wish. This is a great opportunity to connect with organizations that share our values, meet Green Party members from across southern MN, and energize for the summer!
Brian mentioned the possibility of connecting members via the Slack app. We will continue looking into this possibility and have a deeper introduction to Slack at a future meeting.
We are submitting the paperwork to the Campaign Finance Board to register as an official political unit.
We need to gather names of people who may be interested in running for office here in Winona County. Barring resignations, there will be no local offices open until 2018, but we need to start recruiting possible candidates now. If you know of anyone who has expressed an interest in running for office, or who you feel would be someone worth approaching, please submit names to Jean L. or Brian M.
We discussed the rummage sale fundraiser. We would like to have the rummage sale on the weekend of May 4-7, to coincide with the 100-mile garage sale that weekend. Liza E. has volunteered her garage on Gilmore Ave for a day or two that weekend. Shelly will be coordinating this event. If you have anything you wish to donate to the rummage sale or if you would like to volunteer to help, please contact Shelly V.
We discussed the need to reach out to students at the University. Bruno mentioned the idea of a movie/panel discussion event or series starting early in the school year. This would be an excellent opportunity to work with faculty and students and members of the community to create an event that would result in vibrant discussion and hopefully lead to action. We brainstormed a few ideas for movies. We will send that list in a separate email so that we can add to the list via feedback from all members and supporters. Brian and Bruno will work together to approach faculty and students about getting involved.
Brian shared some news about national and international Green candidates and events. The Global Greens Congress met this past week in London. Information about the Congress can be found at http://greens2017.org/
The elections in Austria and the Netherlands are viewed as a blow to the wave of right wing populism and anti-immigrant rhetoric that has become more prominent this election cycle.
Kenneth Mejia came up short in his campaign to represent California's 34th District in the US House of Representatives. However, he garnered more votes than the Republican candidate and earned 4.4% of the vote in a primary featuring 20 candidates, the majority of them from the Democratic Party. https://ballotpedia.org/Kenneth_Mejia
We need members to write letters to the editor. As they are published, they will be added to our Facebook page and website to show that we are vocal about improving our community. We will also be featuring members who are working with endorsed and allied organizations in our community, and any members who serve on local commissions and boards. Currently, Green Party member Gloria A. serves on the Winona Human Rights Commission. Jean L. has applied to be appointed to the Winona Human Rights Commission. It is so important that we all stay active and involved in our community.
We need volunteers to keep an eye on bills moving through the Minnesota Legislature so we can take action when necessary to contact our legislators. If you are interested in researching and watching a bill or two and notifying us before major votes so we can send out a call to action, please respond to this email. It would be best to focus on a bill or two that pertains to something you are passionate about.
Brian sent out a short survey to members and supporters and shared it on Facebook, simply to try it out and get some initial feedback on issues we can focus on that are important to the community. Please keep sharing this survey, as we would like a picture of what a broad cross-section of the community finds important.
Brian suggested we keep thinking about initiating neighborhood meet and greets rather than door-to-door canvassing. We can start at the East End Rec with a neighborhood meet and greet. One of our key goals should be to engage the community at Maplewood Townhomes, as they are underrepresented and too often isolated and ostracized in our community. Jean has a contact who we can reach out to there.
We have come a long way in a very short time and we are hopeful for the future. That speaks volumes about the energy, hard work, and passion of our members and supporters. There is much work left to be done, but together, we can change our world.
We have been busy in 2017 so far, and have many plans for this year. In January, we took part in "A People's Inauguration", hosted by Move to Amend - Winona. We have taken part in marches supporting the water protectors at Standing Rock. On April 22nd, we will be involved with the Earth Day celebrations in Winona. On April 29th, the Green Party of Southern Mn will be gathering for our 2017 Spring Conference.
Our big goals are promoting growth and support of the Green Party, and recruiting candidates to run for local offices in 2018. We can use more energy and ideas, so we hope you will get involved with us in anyway you can!