Top item on the agenda: Picking a new chairman, to replace Ray Rivera of Kenosha, who has held the post for the past four years and has said he is not seeking re-election. (At other times he has said he will run again, so that point is somewhat up in the air.)
Running for the post are two men:
- David Corey of Burlington, a retired Chrysler legislative committee chair for Local 72. He was campaign manager last fall for Larry Zamba, who ran unsuccessfully for the 66th Assembly District.
- Mark Pienkos of Walworth County, a school principal who was county chair for seven months before moving to Florida... from which he has returned.
Number one issue for the 1st CD Democrats: How to beat Paul Ryan, the Republican congressman who has soundly won the seat in each of the past six election cycles. The candidates for chair were asked a series of questions about the race. Here's an excerpt from each of their answers:
Corey: "As the 1st CD chair, I would ask that we become more aggressive with letter writing campaigns, attend 'listening sessions' held by Paul Ryan, organize protest marches on things like the Employee Free Choice Act and CEO stock options, bonuses and salaries." In looking for a candidate to run against Ryan, Corey wants: "First and foremost is any prior political office they have held. Second, the ability to raise money. Third, a firm grasp of the issues facing our country and Ryan's voting record. Fourth, have a thick skin and have the ability to debate Paul Ryan on an open mike."
Pienkos: "We need to field a candidate who is energetic, positive, has fresh ideas and is able to articulate ideas well. What we have had over the past several elections are people who are idealistic, yet have had little or no political experience at the grassroots level... These are good people, but, they don’t know how to run a congressional district race... We must shake off the past five disastrous elections when we paid lip service to the congressional race. We must begin to truly believe we can win the seat." He offered a five-part strategy that included getting distict Dems more tech savvy, and publicizing Ryan's positions on such issues as privatizing Social Security.
Kay has given us a link to the candidates' full responses.