Wisconsin Green Party Holds Productive Spring Gathering with Focus on Housing Crisis

On May 20, 2023, the Wisconsin Green Party (WIGP) held its Spring Gathering from 12 PM – 3 PM. The event covered a range of important topics and updates for party members, as well as a panel discussion entitled, “Housing is a Human Right.”

The gathering began with a warm welcome from WIGP Co-chair Dave Schwab, followed by brief introductions from the attendees. WIGP Co-chairs Sam Chance and Dave Schwab opened with remarks about the state’s housing crisis before introducing the panel speakers.

Four Green elected officials and candidates participated in the panel, namely Sam Harshner (2023 candidate for Shorewood Village Trustee), John W. Duncan (Madison Common Council District 1), Juliana Bennett (Madison Common Council District 2), and Marsha Rummel (Madison Common Council District 6). They shared their insights on the housing crisis, and a question-and-answer session followed, allowing attendees to engage in meaningful discussion.

Committee and officer reports were presented during the gathering. The Membership Committee reported on their monthly meetings, focusing on tasks such as managing the membership database, tracking, mailing lists, dues, and meeting notifications. The Communications Committee discussed their work on the WIGP website, social media accounts, and newsletter. The Information Technology Committee highlighted their efforts in managing NationBuilder and YouTube accounts, as well as assisting committees with IT issues and performing routine maintenance. The Policy & Platform Committee collaborated with the Communications Committee to draft policy statements and publish blogs on various important issues.

The Elections Committee reported on their meetings, now taking place on a bi-monthly basis. In terms of finances, the WIGP has made efforts to reduce operating expenses, cutting costs associated with the online database server and bookkeeping. The party also made financial contributions to six Green candidates, most of whom were successfully elected in April of 2023.

Chapter reports were also provided during the gathering. The Greater Milwaukee Green Party participated in protests and political events, including the Power to the People campaign in collaboration with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). The chapter now has a dues and donations function on its webpage. The Four Lakes Green Party engaged in the candidate endorsement process, supporting five candidates running for the Madison Common Council. They also took part in protest actions observing the 20th anniversary of the Iraq invasion and protesting the arrival of F-35s at Madison’s Truax Field, collaborating with other local organizations such as World Beyond War, Veterans for Peace, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)’s Madison chapter.

A general discussion on WIGP business ensued, during which there was a request for the Coordinating Council (CC) minutes and a report on the recent removal of certain members from the CC and WIGP committees. Co-chair Sam Chance provided the Coordinating Council minutes, as well as a verbal summary of the reasons for removal. While the minutes had been available in the public section of the WIGP Google Drive, concerns were raised about limited access for some members due to lack of access list maintenance. The need to address the access issue was acknowledged. To facilitate discussion on these topics and others, the Wisconsin Green Party Decision-Making list was announced and rolled out. The list is available to all WIGP members in good standing. Members present at the gathering were provided with a link to join the list. Information on joining the list will be provided to all WIGP members.

A proposal to table proposed WIGP By-laws changes, related to implementing online voting for major party decision-making, was made. An objection was raised prompting a thorough discussion, and ultimately the WIGP By-law changes were tabled to be decided at the Summer Gathering. The gathering adjourned at 3:05 PM, marking a successful and productive event for the Wisconsin Green Party.

This gathering was one of four statewide membership gatherings the WIGP is holding in 2023.  The WIGP Summer Gathering will take place in August.

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