News and Recent Activities

Below are selected recent events and activies in which the Washtenaw County Democratic Party has been involved.

June General Membership Meeting

 

On Saturday, June 3, 2017, please join us for our June WCDP General Membership Meeting’s Program on the topic of “Muslims in the Age of Trump.” We’ve asked Muslims and Muslim allies to share with us their varied perspectives about the concerns of the Muslim community, especially during these tense early months of the Trump administration. There will be panel presentations followed by discussion. We are reaching out to the Muslim community to expand our understanding of it, as we invite them to be part of our WCDP community.

Please join us for this special event and discussion!

Where: Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center, 4135 Washtenaw Ave. Ann Arbor

When: Saturday, June 3, 2017
Fellowship and Mingling 10:30 – 11:00 AM
Program 11 AM – 1 PM

Speakers

Habib Hamidi
Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor, MCA
Dawud Walid
Michigan Branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, CAIR
Marjorie Horton
UM Islamophobia Working Group and UM Asst. Dean of Undergraduate Education
Nadine Jawad
UM Islamophobia Working Group and UM Student
Adam Mageed
UM Islamophobia Working Group and UM Student

MONDAY – Rally & press conference to save EPA Ann Arbor wsg Debbie Dingell

Get the latest updates on this VERY important event at www.facebook.com/SaveEPAAnnArbor. We are trying to get a HUGE turnout for this event so please attend if you can. And invite your friends!

You can click the image below for a printable flyer.

Donna Lasinski Fundraiser

Donna Lasinski personal letter to invitees:

 

Dear Friend,

 

Over the last 5 months, I have met hundreds of passionate women and men who are driven to make real, positive change in our communities.

 

Please join Gretchen, Barb and me as we bring together newly formed action groups including Indivisible, Swing Left, and Stronger Together to meet and inspire each other and YOU!

 

Because of our local efforts to come together, the work I do in Lansing is stronger. 

 

The cold, hard reality is that it will take monetary support for me to be able to continue my work on our behalf in Lansing.

 

As the only female legislator in the State House from Washtenaw County, and a Democrat in one of the most targeted seats, I deeply appreciate your early support. 

 

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you,

Donna

 

Gretchen Driskell 
& Barb Fuller
invite you to

Spring into Action

for State Representative 
Donna Lasinski

With special guests:
Action Groups that are making
their voices heard in Washtenaw County

Tuesday, May 23
6-8pm

The Chelsea Depot
125 Jackson St, Chelsea MI 48118

Sponsor…$500
Host…$250
Friend…$100     
First Timer…$25

RSVP Becca@votedonnalasinski.com

 

Online Signup: https://act.myngp.com/Forms/-7777770439282849024

 

Paid for by CTE Donna Lasinski • PO Box 7425 • Ann Arbor MI 48107

No corporate checks – please | Labor donated – printed in house

TAKE ACTION AGAINST REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE CUTS

stophealthcarecuts

Day of Action

Saturday, April 22nd, the Michigan Democratic Party is holding its first of many “Days of Action”. This Day of Action is focused on the debate around health insurance reform. Democrats across the state will be reaching out to fellow Democrats with our message.

Here in Washtenaw County, we are holding a phonebank from 10 a.m. until noon. at our office at 418 W. Michigan Avenue. Please bring a laptop if you have one and join us as we begin the important work of reaching out to Democrats around the county to get their views and to let them know about our efforts. For details, contact Justin Hodge at hodge.wcdp@gmail.com.

If you are participating in one of the several marches/rallies in Washtenaw County that day, stay tuned for details on how you can participate in the Day of Action by handing out flyers and carrying a sign in support of Michigan and Washtenaw Democrats.

The future of public transit in Ypsilanti

The Future of Transit in Ypsilanti 4.10.17

Important information on the special elections on May 2

Important special elections on May 2

Deadline to register for this vote is April 3

Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor schools are each seeking renewals of existing millages, with minor changes.

Ypsilanti Community Schools:
Operating Millage Proposal:
For Ypsilanti, the levy would be extended for 5 years (through 2022.) It would also include an additional .5 mil (50 cents per $1000 valuation) to balance out a reduction required by the state since 1963. That millage would only be in effect until the reduction was paid for. Once the loss was covered the additional 50 cent millage would automatically stop.

Ypsilanti residents can find more information on where to register to vote or update their registration here.

Ballot language:
Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Ypsilanti Community Schools, Washtenaw County, Michigan, be renewed by 18 mills ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) and also be increased by .5 mill ($0.50 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation), for a period of 5 years, 2018 to 2022, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and 18 mills are levied in 2018 is approximately $25,816,000 (18 mills of the above is a renewal of millage that will expire with the 2017 levy and .5 mill is an increase in millage which will only be levied to the extent necessary to restore millage lost as a result of a reduction required by the Michigan Constitution of 1963)?

Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor:
Sinking fund millage:
This millage was originally approved by voters in 2013. Like the earlier version, this extension will be used for physical repairs and construction. The only change is that if approved, future revenue could also be applied to security improvements for the schools.

A sinking fund millage is explicitly forbidden from being used for teacher pay or administrative salaries.

Ann Arbor residents can find more information on where to register or update their registration here.

Ballot language: As a replacement of existing authority, shall the Public Schools of the City of Ann Arbor, County of Washtenaw, Michigan, be authorized to levy 2.50 mills ($2.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) to create a sinking fund for the purpose of the construction or repair of school buildings, including school security improvements, and the improvement and development of sites and, to the extent permitted by law, for other purposes, including, but not limited to, the acquisition and installation of furnishings and equipment, by increasing the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in the School District for a period of ten (10) years, being the years 2017 to 2026, inclusive?  It is estimated that 2.50 mills ($2.50 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) would raise approximately $20,193,874 in the first year that it is levied.

Senator Debbie Stabenow Fundraising Reception

Please join Janis Bobrin & Mike Allemang, Fred Blanck, Lori Carpentier Nell Dority, Jenifer Martin & Mark Fendrick, Barb & Nelson Fuller Leigh Greden, Leah Gunn, Wanda Hammoud Caitlin Klein & Joe Malcoun, Kristie Martin, MI List, Tom O’Brien Marianne Udow-Phillips & Bill Phillips, Sharon & Kirk A. Profit Caroline Blaum & Chuck Wilbur, Lisa Wozniak
(Host Committee in Formation)

for an evening reception honoring

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow

Friday, March 24, 2017 5:00pm – 6:30pm

Home of Sharon & Kirk A. Profit
4370 Stonemeadow Ct. Ann Arbor, MI

Suggested contribution:
Host: $1,000
Sponsor: $500
Friend: $250
Activist: $100

To RSVP, contact Matt Phelan at mphelan@stabenowforsenate.com or (810) 923-2307.
Contributions or gifts to Stabenow for U.S. Senate are not tax deductible.
Paid for by Stabenow for U.S. Senate.

Click HERE for a printable flyer. Click HERE to purchase tickets.

Message from the Chair: The New Washtenaw County Democratic Party

In the days since November 8th, 2016, people across the country are rising up to say that Pr*sident Trump does NOT represent our values as Americans. Nowhere is that more true than in Washtenaw County. Since election day, our mailing list has grown by nearly 400 people and our general membership meetings have gone from being attended by 40 or 50 people to over 200 at our last meeting where Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon said that the WCDP is the model for County Democratic Parties in our state:

Washtenaw County Democrats are fired up and ready to #resist.

On Saturday, January 28th, the WCDP Executive Board met for a 7+ hour strategic planning retreat. The ideas that came out of that meeting are transformational and we are poised to make enormous strides both in Washtenaw County and beyond. The common theme during the meeting was an “83 County Strategy”. We are not content to simply organize in Washtenaw County. We know that we must expand our reach, share our vision and resources, and evangelize to spread our best practices to other County Parties (and to learn from them, as well.)

When I first ran for Chair, I did so on an “Activist Slate”. The dream I had for the WCDP to become a force for activism is becoming a reality due to the hard work, passion, and dedication of our current and past Board members.

In addition to our four officers, our Board is comprised of 12 co-Vice Chair positions. Around each of these positions we are building teams of people to help them accomplish the goals set out for them in our bylaws. You can sign up to be on one of these teams HERE. And, of course, if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our email list HERE.

Here are some highlights of what is happening with each group and what they, with YOUR help, will be focusing on in the days and months to come:

Membership TeamCo-Vice Chairs Susan Baskett and Anne Brown
The Membership team is focused on both increasing the number of active members in the WCDP as well as ensuring that we are meeting the needs of our members. They will work closely with our Outreach and Programs teams (among others) to ensure that people are getting signed up and engaged. They are working to create reusable WCDP name badges available for a nominal fee. Finally, they will be encouraging people to become members of the Michigan Democratic Party. The reason for this is two-fold. First, we get some of the proceeds from memberships when people become members of the MDP. Second, in order to vote at WCDP meetings and conventions, you must be a member of the MDP which, in turn, makes you a member of the WCDP if you live in Washtenaw County.

CommunicationsCo-Vice Chairs Satish Ramade and Julie Baker
The Communications team has several items on their list. First, they are going to do a makeover of our website. This includes the exciting and important development of Spanish and Arabic language versions so that as many Washtenaw Democrats as possible are able to access and read it. Second, they will begin to do profiles of members, volunteers, and elected officials so that we start to know more about the people who are getting things done. They will also be working on developing a regular flow of tools for activism, as well as calls to action, in concert with Legislative Programs, etc., and create a plan for disseminating them via email, social media, and our website. The Communications team is largely the group responsible for building our “brand” and that will be a common thread running through everything they do.

Social MediaCo-Vice Chairs Jeremy Glick and Allie Van Zoeren
The Social Media team will work closely with the Communications team (along with others, of course) to make sure our message gets out through our website, our Facebook page, our Twitter account, and our future Instagram account. But just putting the message out on these platforms is not enough if they aren’t seen by large numbers of people. That requires encouraging others to share our social media posts. To that end, their team will be working to increase the visibility of our posts themselves. In addition, the Social Media team will be doing trainings for WCDP members on how to best maximize their use of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help push that even further.

ProgramsCo-Vice Chairs Mary Thiam-Hall and Ashley Hall
Our programming has improved greatly over the past two years. However, we want to take this to the next step. The Programs team is planning to hold at least TWO programs per month instead of just the one program each month at our General Membership meetings. They will be working with other groups throughout the County to make sure we’re offering relevant and current programming content that is responsive to the interests and needs of our members and prospective members. This will include programs related to issue advocacy, voter education, potential candidate education, and candidate forums. We understand that it’s not what we say we’re about that defines us as a County Party. Rather, it’s what we DO that truly defines us and making sure we are offering quality and timely programs is a crucial part of that.

FundraisingCo-Vice Chairs Bill Worzel and Kelly Tebay
We understand that Democratic and progressive groups are constantly begging you for money and we try very hard not to be part of that noise in your email inbox and on your phone. However, we simply cannot accomplish our goals without adequate funding. As you probably know by now, we now have a permanent office so, in addition to paying for all of the things the other 11 groups are doing, we must also pay rent and utilities along with purchasing supplies and services to keep the office open and up & running. This means that Bill & Kelly (a former fundraising staffer for the MDP) and their team will be incorporating an element of fundraising into everything we do (i.e using messaging and legislative outcomes to drive fundraising asks to specific groups and people to support our efforts financially.) Again, we don’t like having to ask for money but we will never be able to accomplish our goals without it and we know that Democrats in Washtenaw County are generous and supportive of what we are doing.

OutreachCo-Vice Chairs Kathy Wyatt and David Greco
The WCDP leadership knows that, unless we deliberately reach out to other groups to form relationships and partnerships with them, we’ll never achieve our goal of being a party that’s responsive to everyone. The goal of the Outreach team is to engage in the process with a new and determined focus. Our Outreach team will be meeting with members and leaders of issue groups, ethnic groups, and groups of a wide array of demographics to start this important coalition-building work.

Precinct OrganizingCo-Vice Chairs Catherine Daligga and Jane Forman
The Precinct Organizing Committee (POC) is the model on which all of the other teams are based. This is the team that has been around the longest and it has expanded its influence and effectiveness in ways we only dreamed about in the early days. The POC has three components. The first is Team Precinct Delegates. This team’s focus is on increasing the number of elected Precinct Delegates in Washtenaw County. However, it’s more than that: it’s ensuring that the people in Precinct Delegate positions are ACTIVE and fulfilling their roles as the bedrock, grassroots organizers of the Democratic Party. This team will also oversee the work of the WCDP County Committee. The second is Team Statewide. This team will work with County Parties throughout the state as well as the MDP itself to spread our knowledge, resources, and best practices so the successes that we are achieving in Washtenaw County can begin to spread throughout Michigan. The last team is Team Data. This team has developed and is continuing to refine a database of our local activists – people who have proven they are willing to show up and make calls or knock doors or do some other activity to further the goals of the Democratic Party. Additionally, they will eventually be creating a local voter database to help us with our Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts in election years. Finally, the POC has given themselves the ambitious goal of talking to at least 50% of our identified Democratic voters this year at their doorsteps, at house parties, and at events to get them informed and engaged.

Resolutions, By-laws, and PolicyCo-Vice Chairs Eli Savit and Denise Kirchoff
Our bylaws are there to help guide our efforts as well as to provide direction when problems or questions arise. While our current bylaws are functional, there are still some major flaws and areas for improvement. Over the coming year this team will be working to fix the known flaws, revisit our resolutions and endorsement policies and rules, and to ensure that the document is both accurate and useful as a guide when we need it, all while ensuring transparency. In addition, this team will oversee the creation of resolutions, assisting those wishing to submit them in getting them into the right format and introducing them properly.

Legislative ProgramsCo-Vice Chairs Justin Hodge and Solomon Rajput
Once a position held by a staff person from Congressional or legislative offices, this team has developed into one of the main centers of energy and excitement within the WCDP. The main focus of this group is to turn WCDP members into citizen activists and citizen lobbyists. Working with state and Congressional elected officials, they are developing tools to learn about impending legislation and policy and then creating easy ways for our members to reach out our elected officials to make their voices heard. This will be through regular phonebanking (they are currently holding two phonebanks per week at multiple locations throughout the County), letters to the editor, and other means. Because our County enjoys a largely Democratic group of lawmakers (with a few notable exceptions), this team will also be reaching out to other County Parties to help engage them and to use our capacity to help their members become more involved as citizen activists and citizen lobbyists, as well. This is where we will have our biggest impact. Our primary focus is on the state legislature because this is where we have the most knowledge of upcoming legislation and, more importantly, where we can have the biggest impact. However, they will also be working to #resist Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in Washington, DC, too.

VisibilityCo-Vice Chairs Melinda McCabe and Amanda Mayer
Our Visibility team is in charge of making sure that the WCDP has a visible presence at as many local events as possible. Festivals, fairs, and other events are all places for us to reach out to people in the community to let them know we’re here and to get them involved. This team is also in charge of selling Democratic swag – buttons, bumperstickers, t-shirts, etc. – a source of income for the WCDP.

Social EventsCo-Vice Chairs Steven Kwasny and Jelani McGadney
We can’t be serious and hardworking ALL the time, right?! The Social Events team is tasked with coming up with ways for us all to get together to have some fun with a purpose. Picnics, bowling nights, cocktail mixers – these and other things will let us share relaxed, enjoyable times together and build us as a Democratic family. They have some VERY fun things planned that we’ll be rolling out soon.

Administrative AffairsCo-Vice Chairs Susie Catherman and Nathan Longhofer
The Administrative Affairs team maintains the calendar on our website, a central place to learn about all things progressive and Democratic in our area. In addition, they will be overseeing the running of our new office, making sure it has all the resources it needs and is staffed and available for use by our community partners.

This is your NEW Washtenaw County Democratic Party. It’s being led by a diverse group of talented, passionate Democrats and we encourage YOU to get involved. If you’d like to join one of these teams, please click HERE to get involved.

In solidarity,
Chris Savage, Chair
chrissavage123@sbcglobal.net
734-358-9276

*Donald Trump is the largest loser of the popular vote in history to become the President of the United States of America.

Message from the WCDP Vice Chair & Chair on the Election of DNC Chair Tom Perez and Deputy Chair Keith Ellison

Message from the WCDP Vice Chair & Chair on the Election of DNC Chair Tom Perez and Deputy Chair Keith Ellison
Saturday’s very close Democratic National Committee (DNC) election was disappointing for many Michigan Democrats. Given that all but one of the Michigan DNC electors voted for Keith Ellison in the first round of voting and all voted for him on the second ballot, it’s clear that our DNC representatives saw him as the top choice. However, we can see from their support that Democrats in Michigan have a state party, elected officials, and Labor leaders who are listening and open to moving in a more progressive direction. In other words, the goal of making the Michigan Democratic Party a more progressive, grassroots-oriented organization is succeeding.

We are encouraged and thankful that in his first act as DNC Chair Tom Perez appointed Keith Ellison as Deputy Chair, ensuring that he will have a strong, ongoing influence on the direction of our Party. This also means that our Chair and Deputy Chair are both from minority communities. Both are strong progressives with track records of successful organizing and actions on behalf of issues we as progressives care deeply about. And, perhaps most importantly, both are good friends. These are signs of important progress.

But this does not mean that we, as progressive Democrats, will not hold both of them accountable to us. They may be our leaders, but we are the Party they lead and our voices and our values matter every day.

One final thought: what happens at the national level is, without question, important in terms of the direction of our Party. However, what we are accomplishing here at the local level in Washtenaw County, is being done despite the DNC, not because of it. We are making transformative, progressive change by “just doing it”. We are leading from the grassroots and it’s making a difference. That won’t change with changing leadership at the national level and it’s a tribute to the passion, energy, and talents of Washtenaw Democrats.

In solidarity,
Hedieh Briggs, WCDP Vice Chair
Chris Savage, WCDP Chair