Four candidates for public office spoke at Jan. 4, Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting

Judge Jill Karofsky, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Justice Daniel Kelly, was one of several candidates speaking at the Jan. 4 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.


Joni Anderson

Four candidates for election spoke to the Green Lake County Dems & Friends on Saturday morning, Jan. 4. Heading up the list was Judge Jill Karofsky, a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Judge Karofsky is in a three-person nonpartisan primary fight on Feb. 18 to select the two candidates who will face off in the April 7 general election. 

For more on Judge Karofsky, check out her Facebook page and website

Another one of the candidates for the seat on the state Supreme Court now held by Dan Kelly, who was appointed–not elected–to the court by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, is Ed Fallone a Marquette University Law School professor. Fallone will join us on Saturday, Feb. 1, for our regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Check back in the coming weeks for more on Fallone and his upcoming visit to Green Lake

Also speaking on Saturday morning was Joni Anderson, a Democrat, seeking to replace incumbent Republican State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon). Anderson, from Adams County has been a longtime union official and she is promoting her union leadership as one of the reasons people should vote for her. Anderson and Nate Zimdars, a Democrat from Ripon, and a current member of the Ripon School Board, will meet in a primary on Aug. 11. The winner of that election will face off against Olsen on in the Nov. 3, 2020, general elections.

Ken Bates

The third candidate speaking Saturday morning was former Green Lake School District Administrator Ken Bates, who is seeking a seat on the Green Lake County Board of Supervisors.  Bates was not at the meeting to promote his candidacy, but instead to urge attendees to consider running for several open positions on the board.

The fourth candidate was Zimdars, who was also there to alert attendees to several openings on the Ripon School Board.  

As always, meetings of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends, held on the first Saturday of the month, are open to the public. Approximately 45 people attended the meeting Saturday.

Why did Gov. Evers sign legislation pushed by conservatives and opposed by progressives, social justice, and environmental groups?

Gov. Tony Evers addressed a meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends in 2018.

This is a story that demands clarification from both Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, and from the Republican-controlled state legislature: To date, that clarification has not been forthcoming. 

Nor has the media provided any sort of clarification. This, however, is somewhat understandable. Most media outlets, to keep abreast of current events, simply move on to their next story.

But what about Evers? His decision in late November to sign assembly bill 426 angered many Democrats and ignored strong opposition to the bill from many progressive, environmental, and social justice groups, groups that in the past have supported Evers and the Democratic Party. Evers made a brief statement at the signing, but has not elaborated.

So what touched off the outrage? The bill echoed language promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that assists Republican legislators with the drafting of legislative initiatives that have been and continue to be adopted across the county in states where Republicans are in control.

The legislation also attacks free speech and may be unconstitutional, according to those opposed to the bill, in part because it makes it a felony for protestors to trespass on property owned, leased, or operated by companies engaged in the distribution of oil or petroleum. Violators can end up in prison for six years and fined up to $10,000. The legislation is clearly designed to prevent protests like those against the Dakota Access Pipeline that started in 2016.

To better understand and appreciate what the bill does, why it is so controversial, why Evers signed it, and the scope of the disappointment it generated, check out these articles:


The key to winning seats in Congress is outstanding candidates: Meet Tricia Zunker

One of the brightest young voices being raised in Wisconsin these days comes from Tricia Zunker, a Democrat seeking to represent the 7th Congressional District. Zunker, at attorney, is also chair of the Wausau School Board. In August, she announced her interest in the seat formerly held by Republican Sean Duffy, who is not seeking reelection. While the district has been a Republican stronghold, Zunker, the second Democrat to announce for the seat in Congress, will turn heads with videos like the one below:

Health Care and the Environment finish as the top issues of concern


The final results are in and as expected, Health Care and the Environment, the early leaders in the Green Lake County Dems & Friends poll of attendees at the just concluded Green Lake County Fair, were the final two top issues of concern.

The poll, admittedly unscientific and definitely unofficial, but lots of fun, closed Sunday at the end of the 4-day fair run.

So, who participated in our poll? Well, young and old, male and female, Democrat and Republican (including 6th District Congressman Glen Grothman, a Republican and a good sport), and a group of young 4-Hers who, while too young to vote in real elections, cared enough about the issues to register their votes with us.

As indicated, Health Care, with 168 votes, was the top issue of concern, with the Environment close behind at 160. The Environment, as the table below shows, was the leader after the first day, but Health Care rallied and led the rest of the way.

Education finished third with 129 votes.

Agriculture was third with 65 votes, followed closely by Voting Rights with 60.

Everyone who voted was encouraged to make two choices with the provided smiley faces; most did.



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Health Care gets most votes Saturday during our top issues poll at fair

While the rain Saturday night ended the polling prematurely, attendees at the Green Lake County Fair still demonstrated a lot of interest in Green Lake County Dems & Friends’ unscientific, completely unofficial poll to learn what issues were of the most concern to voters heading into the 2020 election year.

Health Care, the No. 2 issue after the first two days of voting–the Environment was No. 1–is the new leader with a three-day total of 145 votes. The Environment is now No. 2 with 136 votes.

Helping Health Care take over the top spot was a relatively large margin on Saturday. Health Care had 52 votes Saturday before the rain came, while the environment had 33 votes Saturday.

The No. 3 top issue after three days? Education with 111 votes.

Check out the table below for the day-by-day totals, plus the grand totals for the first three days of the four-day event.



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Health care is Friday leader in Green Lake County Dems’ poll of fairgoers

Fairgoers participating in the Green Lake County Dems & Friends poll on Friday said that Health Care was their top issue or concern. Second was the Environment.

This is a reversal of Thursday’s results, where the Environment was the first day leader with 44 votes

Health Care earned 63 votes Friday, the largest one-day total so far.  A close second on Friday, was the Environment with 59 votes.

This means that after two days, the Environment is still the overall leader with 103 votes. Health Care’s two-day total is 93.

See the table below for more information on the vote totals. Our poll, which is new this year, is an admittedly unscientific and unofficial undertaking. So, what. We and the fairgoers participating in the poll are having fun, while also gaining some insights into the opinions of those attending the fair.


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The environment and health care are the early top issues of concern after day one of the Green Lake County Fair poll

The early results are in and attendees at the Green Lake County Fair have spoken. 

Their top issues of concern heading into the 2020 elections are (drum roll please) the Environment and Health Care. 

Next up: Voting rights and education. 

Although it was expected to be one of the leaders, the Environment, with 44 votes, had a 14-point lead over Health Care’s 30 after the first day of the fair in this unscientific, unofficial, but extremely fun poll.

Although the big lead for the Environment and Health Care was a bit of a surprise (some observers felt it would be closer), these vote totals are only for day one of the four-day annual event. 

Today’s results could end up making the race closer. Today could also see voting rights (and its allied issues, such as redistricting) and education close the gap.

Trailing the leaders, after the first day, was Agriculture with 12, Infrastructure with 8 and Other with 5.

In total, 140 votes were cast on Thursday, the fair’s opening day.

Voting (such as it is) continues today, Saturday, and Sunday. Look for the final results Sunday night.



Another resource for you in your quest for knowledge

One of the strengths of an organization is its ability to marshal resources for the common good. In our case, our members are alerting us to information on issues and elected officials through two new sections of our website: Issues and We’re Watching … If you have not visited them, click on their links.

Additionally, members and friends alert us to new, addition sources of information. For example, Ken Knight recently sent us information on the Wisconsin Budget Project, an independent Madison-based research group that focuses on tax and budget policy. The group also works with Kids Forward (formerly the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families) which looks at issues important to families and kids, through the lens of how taxes and how the state budget impacts them.

Here is a link to the Wisconsin Budget Project website and one to its Facebook Page. We think you will find both to be of considerable value. Note that you can also sign up on its website to receive email updates (something you can also do here if you want to receive email updates for our website).

Policy areas that are included on its website include:

  • Economic Security 
  • Education 
  • Federal Budget and Taxes 
  • Health and Human Services 
  • Jobs and the Economy,
  • State Budget
  • State Taxes
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