DeForest-Windsor Area Grassroots (DWAG) meeting notes for September 11, 2017

                                           DeForest-Windsor Area Grassroots (DWAG)

Meeting Notes

September 11, 2017


Next meeting: Monday, September 18, 2017, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the DeForest Public Library, 203 Library Street, DeForest.  See tentative agenda below.


Present on September 11: John Stanley, Karen Edson, John Scepanski, Ginny Brokish, Abby Lowery, Stacy Biesel


DWAG hosted the quarterly Progressive Partners meeting and potluck September 9th at the Jefferson Square Clubhouse, 717 DeForest Street, DeForest.  John Stanley led the program.  Thanks to Oregon Area Progressives for the use of their sound system.  Thanks to everybody for bringing delicious food for the potluck.  We pretty much followed the agenda as posted:



10:30-11:00  Conversation, greet, and mix.

11:00-12:00  Speaker  -  Dr. Laurel Mark on single payer health insurance


12:00-1:00    Lunch – potluck!  Social time


1:00-1:30      Stacy Biesel on Wausau Grassroots Festival, October 7, 2017

1:30-1:45      John Stanley remarks.

2:00-             Round table   ( Each group takes a turn to speak about what they are      doing and what is coming up for them.)


Dr. Mark was very informative on the subject of health care and health insurance.  Other countries like Canada negotiate lower drug costs.  Medicare’s administrative costs run about 5% of budget, whereas private insurance companies’ costs run about 15-30%.  Some private companies have cut down on their administrative costs because the ACA only allows up to 18%.  We in the U.S. spend almost twice as much as other industrial countries on health care with worse outcomes than many of them. We do lead in smoking cessation, cancer, stroke, and heart disease treatment.  While the ACA has lessened the percentage of people without health insurance, under-insurance is still a big problem in the U.S., along with big deductibles and co-pays.  Dr. Mark had many other informative things to say.  Badger Care for All is the single payer movement in Wisconsin.  Congress Member Conyers is leading the Medicare for All movement in the House.  Bernie Sanders is leading it in the Senate.  Average medical school debt in the U.S. is $150,000; almost -$0- in other countries.  Charlie Uphoff noted that single payer health care takes the health insurance burden off the backs of employers, which should be a big selling point for single payer.  See for Physicians for a National Health Program.


Also at Progressive Partners, DWAG’s own Stacy Biesel did a marvelous job of presenting a talk and discussion on progressive activism in northern Wisconsin.  Rural and small town Wisconsin has become very conservative and very angry at government and politics.  She gave examples of when her family lived in Merrill.  She was part of the Merrill Coalition, which tried to implement positive, progressive community things without being too partisan.  She and John Stanley informed us of the Wausau Grassroots Festival scheduled for next month.  We who live in solid progressive areas like Dane County need to reach out to those who try to engage in progressive politics and community activity in other parts of the state.  “Everything is a fight,” Stacy says, and she says it shouldn’t be like that.


The October Library Board meeting will have on its agenda the use of rooms policy.  Karen went to the meeting for September.


We discussed cutting our DWAG meetings back to one hour once a week.


We had a lively discussion about messaging, the topic being, Does “Black Lives Matter” or “anti-racism” equate to “anti-white”?


(JohnSki had to leave the meeting early, so these notes are not complete.)






Tentative Agenda

DeForest-Windsor Area Grassroots, 9/18/17

De Forest Library 6-7 PM


Social time prior to meeting – come early!

Review of rules:

1.     Cell phones muted (except JohnSki for Kathryn)

2.     One person speaks at a time – no side conversations, please!

3.     Raise hand to request permission to speak – respect person speaking by not jumping in.

4.     Must bring request for a speaker to group BEFORE inviting speaker. Then person with idea for the speaker is in charge of the contact with the speaker, scheduling, intro, etc.

Add to/modify agenda


Old Business (* means permanent item  ** means on agenda for limited time)

*Reports by whoever went to events

*Development of a community intelligence repository (aka “Sign List”)  – need workers willing to review names via Google spreadsheet link

 **Wausau Grassroots Fest

New Business



Political discussion, if any.  Go to bar or restaurant?

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