Thankful on Thanksgiving to Advocates for Democracy in Wisconsin

by Matthew Rothschild, Executive Director

November 24, 2015

On this Thanksgiving, my first at the helm of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, I’d like to express my gratitude to some of the stalwart advocates for democracy in our beloved state that I’ve gotten to know and admire this year.

I’m thankful, first of all, to the great staff at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign: Evan Arnold, Mike Buelow, David Julseth, Barb Kneer, and Beverly Speer--and to longtime volunteer John Montgomery, student volunteer Lauren Manier, and data volunteer Marty Kienitz.

I’m thankful to the board of directors of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign for putting their faith in me.

I’m thankful to all the supporters and funders of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, without whom we wouldn’t be here today.

I’m thankful to my predecessor, Mike McCabe, who continues the fight for democracy over at Blue Jean Nation.

I’m thankful to former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton for keynoting our annual meeting, and for caring so much about campaign finance reform.

I’m thankful to former Republican Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz for standing tall for clean and open government and for his outspokenness in breaking with the wing of his party that is hostile to democracy.

I’m thankful to former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tim Cullen, for promoting nonpartisan redistricting with Sen. Schultz and for writing a fascinating political memoir, Ringside Seat.

I’m thankful to the current Democratic legislators who tried to hold back the Walker-Vos-Fitzgerald wrecking crew, and especially to State Representative Terese Berceau for leading the battle on campaign finance.

I’m thankful to Republican State Senator Rob Cowles, for daring to vote against his party’s leadership on the campaign finance bill.

I’m thankful to John Doe prosecutor Francis Schmitz, for pursuing his investigation into alleged illegal coordination between Scott Walker and outside groups despite the enormous pressure on him to drop it.

I’m thankful to Kevin Kennedy, director of the Government Accountability Board, for handling his responsibilities professionally despite the groundless and outrageous character assassination he had to endure.

And I’m thankful to the terrific activists and nonprofits that we’re working in close coordination with in such coalitions as Money Out, Voters In, and Our Democracy 2020 and Wisconsin Voices.

I’m thankful to Jay Heck, Sandra Miller, Penny Bernard Schaber and Bill Kraus of Common Cause in Wisconsin.

I’m thankful to Andrea Kaminski of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the many amazing women who work in local chapters around the state, especially Pat Finder-Stone of the Greater Green Bay League of Women Voters.

I’m thankful to Markasa Chambers, Colleen Gruszynski, Dana Schultz, and ex-officio: Alexis Anderson-Reed and Mike Wilder.

I’m thankful to Peter Skopec at WisPIRG.

I’m thankful to Scott Foval at People for the American Way.

I’m thankful to Mary Laan of Move to Amend Milwaukee and George Penn and Jim Crist of United to Amend in Wisconsin.

I’m thankful to Robert Craig and Anita Johnson of Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

I’m thankful to Analiese Eicher and Scot Ross of One Wisconsin Now.

I’m thankful to Molly Collins and Emilio de Torre at the ACLU of Wisconsin, and to old friends there: Angie Trudell Vasquez and Chris Ahmuty.

I’m grateful to Martha De La Rosa of 9to5.

I’m thankful to Christine Neumann-Ortiz of Voces de la Frontera.

I’m thankful to Jorna Taylor of High Ground Institute.

I’m thankful to Kerry Schumann, Jennifer Giegerich, and Tom Thoresen at the League of Conservation Voters.

I’m thankful to Kimberlee Wright of Midwest Environmental Advocates.

I’m thankful to Marcie Brost of the Developmental Disabilities Network.

I’m thankful to Jennifer Epps-Addison, formerly of Wisconsin Jobs Now.

I’m thankful to DeNora Getachew and Ian Vandewalker at the Brennan Center.

I’m thankful to Ann Summers and Linda Honold of the Brico Fund for their support and guidance.

And I’m thankful to all the people who invited me to speak in their communities, from Ashland to Milwaukee.

As Howard Zinn once wrote, “To live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

That’s a victory to celebrate this Thanksgiving!

WDC Executive Director Matthew Rothschild
Matthew Rothschild
WDC Executive Director

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