May 2, 2009

1st CD Dems elect new chair, target Ryan in 2010

Changing of the guard: Mark Pienkos and Ray Rivera

Mark Pienkos of Lake Geneva, a former chair of the Walworth County Democrats, was elected chair of the 1st Congressional District Democrats this morning, at the group's annual meeting held at Infusino's. He replaces Ray Rivera of Kenosha, who was chair for four years and did not run for re-election. Pienkos defeated David Corey of Burlington for the position.

His top priority: Electing a Democrat to replace six-term Congressman Paul Ryan. "We have an opportunity in 2010 to elect a Democrat," he said. "We have conceded the district to Ryan for the past five elections." The unkindest cut of all to Pienkos: In 2008 Barack O'Bama not only won the state by a wide margin, he even took the 1st Congressional District. And yet, Ryan won re-election by a big margin.

Refering to yesterday's news that Chrysler's engine plant will close as part of the auto company's reorganization, Pienkos said, "Kenosha is losing jobs. Paul Ryan needs to answer for that."

"It all comes down to his stimulus vote," said Pienkos, a school superintendent. "Paul Ryan voted against this bill, against the 500,000 people per month who are losing their jobs. We've got to change the perception that we've got a Congressman working for us."

Pienkos said he will focus on getting greater visibility for the 1st CD Dems on the county level, in part by personally appearing at their meetings.

Other speakers also made Ryan the target of their remarks. Jason Stephany, who became Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in mid-March, said Ryan "has a really, really great way of lying to your face." Despite his vote against the stimulus bill, "he will be here taking credit for every shovel-ready project." Stephany and others said Ryan has his eye on statewide office and national office, but Democrats "should fight for every single vote, in every single district."

Said Jeff Hall: "Paul Ryan has been touted as the idea guy of the Republican Party. Well, that doesn't take much."

Paulette Garin of Kenosha, who came in second to Marge Krupp last year for the nomination to oppose Ryan ("while spending one-tenth"), said "2010 may be the perfect storm to defeat Ryan." Will she run in the next election? she asked herself rhetorically. "Maybe," she said, pointing out that her campaign committee is still intact, has no debts and will expand its grassroots base.

Peter Barca, the former Congressman who now represents Kenosha in the state Assembly, said "It's a new day in America," with a Democratic president, Democratic control of Congress and the state Legislature. "Isn't it time these winds of change blow across the 1st Congressional District? But here we have somebody trying to block the wind."

"Barack O'Bama is leading the parade down Main Street," he said, "but Paul Ryan is leading it down Wall Street."

The convention, attended by about 100 party members and delegates, elected the following new officers:
  • Chair: Mark Pienkos
  • Alternate Chair: David Corey
  • 1st Vice Chair: Steve Herr
  • 2nd Vice Chair: Brent Nance
  • 3rd Vice Chair: Gail Gabrelian
  • 4th Vice Chair: Steve Butts
  • Admin. Rep.: Marilyn 'Mike' Nemeth
  • Admin. Alternate: Meg Andrietsch
  • Platform/Resolutions: Bob Huele
  • Platform/Resolutions Alternate: Tom Ralston
  • Secretary: John Heckenlively
  • Treasurer: Norm Buchholz


  1. Interested in an effort to recall John Lehman for effectively killing KRM and betraying the best interest of his constituents?

    E-mail us at

    Check out our blog at

  2. I don't believe Paul Ryan has to answer for Chrysler in Kenosha. The President and the democratic congress could have made the stimulus money going to the car companies contingent on jobs staying here. But the president and congress supposedly elected on the promise to keep jobs in the US and bring overseas jobs back to the US did neither. There was enough power in Washington the past few weeks to oust a number of CEOs, they could have required all companies getting money from the government to build product here. Instead they forced an american company into the arms of a overseas company. Sounds to me like this article is blaming the wrong people and party for what is going on in Kenosha and the US.

    This is the democrats change they promised. Hope they like it. I don't.

  3. Newsflash Mark - clean up your existing mess with Lehman and Mason. If you can't handle that then how do you possibly think you can take on Paul Ryan?

  4. Exactly. Lehman and Mason are supposed to represent Racine. Having them on Joint Finance was hailed as a major victory for the people of Racine. Sadly, they used their position to royally screw the city. We elected these two because of leadership and vision and they TOTALLY SOLD OUT. Looks like Roger Caron should have spent less time bashing Vos and more time shoring up his "base" votes.

  5. I wonder if RAMAC will have the balls to call Lehman and Mason out on this or if they will be sending little packets of Kool Aid to their members.

    Not to mention Turner endorsed that steaming pile of a proposal. Yet another shining star for the party.

    My God, Mark - you've got a lot of work to do!

  6. "Isn't it time these winds of change blow across the 1st Congressional District?"

    Yes, and it starts with Lehman and Mason.

    And about this:

    Said Jeff Hall: "Paul Ryan has been touted as the idea guy of the Republican Party. Well, that doesn't take much."

    Well, at least with Paul Ryan you know what you are getting. Lehman and Mason are far worse, they just threw the party ideas right back in your face. What will the Democratic party do about this?

    Unreal. Let's mock Paul Ryan for kicking our rear end for years on end. Let's highlight the fact that the man that you claim has no ideas still managed to trounce your part in election after election. What does that say about the people that ran against him? Way to point that out, thanks.

    And now add Lehman and Mason to the pile of disappointment. Divert attention away to the wildfire these two have just created. Get your hose boys, this is going to be good!

  7. None of Wisconsins politicians are worth a nickel to the people of Wisconsin. They ALL owe their offices to special interests. (unions, real estate dealings, Masons, etc.) Maybe if we would put more thought into our votes, special interests couldn't win elections with post cards.

  8. Paul Ryan is stale and still living in the last millennium. His only ideas for America are Ronald Reagan's plan...eliminate all taxes and shrink government until it disappears. We all know how well that has worked with the last 8 years of GW Bush.

    Eyeryone knows that Paul Ryan hates regulations. I for one am glad my drugs and foods are regulated. I wish the banks and financial institutions were too!

    I feel confident that Mark and David can lead this CD to a strong organizational approach to defeating STALE PAUL RYAN!

    Visit to join us in taking back the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin for the Democrats.

  9. Karen,

    We've got Dems in Madison that we can't even count on and now you want us to jump on and forget it?

    Lehman and Mason just screwed Racine. We can't count on our own State Democrats to uphold the party principles. How can we possibly take anything you say seriously at this point? How can we trust that the next candidate won't pull a Lehman?

    This is an issue that requires immediate resolution.

    Maybe after we kick Lehman out he can run against Paul Ryan.

    Where is the leadership of the Democrats in South East WI? WHERE ARE YOU?????

    Keep your website, give me candidates I can actually believe in. Give us a shot at KRM back! We are in desperate need of help here in Racine. Help us! Save our bus system and bring KRM into play with the sales tax proposal (offset by property tax) that actually has a prayer of working instead of this rental tax fiasco.


    Step up Dem leadership and prove your worth on this issue. You will be repaid in kind, trust me.

  10. The problem in the 1st CD Karen is best described in a remark from the Lehman/KRM article referring to Brent Nance's outspoken displeasure with Lehman's vote to gut KRM. When Brent spoke up NO ONE SAID A WORD!

    Pat yourself on the back all you want, claiming superiority to Paul Ryan is no legitimate accomplishment. Duck and cover is not a strategy to win.

    The union boys say jump and you jump. They say here's our candidate and you say yes sir! The Dems in office tow the same party line and everyone checks their principles at the door. You have to because if you should speak up-no one will support you!

  11. "eliminate all taxes and shrink government until it disappears."

    I kinda like that idea too bad Bush did do that we at least would have not have a Marxist in office

  12. Nothing back from Karen. How appropriate that our calls for help have been met with silence yet again. Another worthless Democrat added to the list.

    Attention All Democrats, if there are any of you left:

    What you are failing to understand here is that there is currently a battle raging for the future of this city and this State. It is way bigger than just KRM.

    The lines have been drawn between those with vision and those that want to do nothing and complain. The future of both the city and state will be decided by one of these two groups. So far, your fear of your own job has caused you to bow down to the vocal minority that preach a philosophy of nothingness and personal greed. Those of us that do care have said enough is enough. We are here in Racine and we are ready.

    Personally, I'm ready to fight for this town and candidates that are willing to do the same. But thus far, I've been let down.

    I mean, how many more years do we have to put up with this? How many more worthless arguments and failed initiatives are we expected to accept? Unemployment is still high, jobs are leaving and we have absolutely no vision coming from the party on how to move forward in a way that actually results in ACTIONS.

    In case you missed it, things are really challenging in Racine right now and WE NEED YOUR HELP. We are begging and pleading for leadership and courage and keep getting shot down with politics as usual or flat out utter contempt. What else do we have to do? What else do we have to say? How many f'ing stupid letters will it take for you aholes to finally act? Name a number! How many phone calls? Huh? How much do we have to prove we care before you will believe it? How much do we have to prove we care before you do the same!

    Letters, calls, and all of that other crap is a cheap trick that you use as an out to cover your own rear end with excuses for not acting. Just take some courage and tell us it doesn't matter and we'll all stop wasting our time. Be honest for once. Tell us that no matter what we do or how much well tell you, that you will never step up and get KRM done. Just say it and we can all go home.

    People are angry down here because we are doing what we can and feel totally ignored.

    For the love of God, someone in the party take a stand! Stand up for what you believe in and FIGHT for the citizens of this city for once. Put forth solutions that work, be bold, be aggressive, be SOMETHING.

    16% unemployment! 16%! Do any of you spineless cowards care? DO YOU CARE! I can tell you there are a whole lot of people down here that do and are willing to do what it takes to get us out this mess but we need your help!

    This KRM thing is just one symptom of the bigger problem. This minimal sacrifice had a potential upside and could have been a game changer around here to start....start to move the needle in the other direction. Nobody expects over night miracles but do expect things to get better. We're decimated here, looking for something to hold onto, some ray of hope and vision to get us there.

    And you m'fers just want to talk about Paul Ryan. Democrats refuse to work together to support an Regional Transit Authority, but when it comes to regional political cooperation you're all in favor. You are all disgusting hypocrites.

    We're in a mess and the reality is that it will take some money to get out of it. Give us solutions and the people that care most about this city will drive the message to the people.

    Racine Democrats - we must expect more than this. We have to if the party and Racine is going to survive. Don't bow down to those that only say no. Work with the people that say yes and are willing to sacrifice to make it happen.

    We're here. We're working. We're waiting for you to catch up.

    Fix that and then talk to me about Paul Ryan. I know how to finally take this man down, but you can't do that until you put your own house in order.

    Fight for Racine. Please!

  13. Isn't there anything else that can be done? Is it really too late for KRM?

  14. More Democrat blindness.

    Obama works deal with Chrysler and you blame Ryan?

    You people are truly amazing in your blind devotion and your never ending capacity to hate.

  15. 16% unemployment! 16%

    Yes and if you Dems get your way raise taxes you will see more business leave and even higher unemployment combined that with Obama's actions that will bring hyper-inflation (thank you) your looking to a a swing to the right that will be wonderful to behold.
    Please keep blaming Ryan for things Obama and Doyle are doing help us get the landslide

  16. How dare any of you republicans throw unemployment in the face of any democrat. This economic crisis isn't something that started with Obama's election back in Nov. It's been brewing for years under the conservative movement. And, conservative isn't even the appropriate name for what's been going on in this country that has allowed large corporations to take huge tax breaks, give their top officers obscenely large paychecks and bonuses while driving those industries into the ground or overseas. It's been brewing for years and the Bush admin keep it stirring with a giant blind eye towards anything remotely close to fiscal conservatism or restraint in government spending. Lest you forget it was Clinton who shut down government until congress presented him with a balanced budget. He handed over a surplus and we ended up in on the brink of a depression in less than 8 years!
    Paul Ryan is one slick talking, gool lookin' guy. He's got a nice personality in public and has great sway with people who don't look past superficial attributes.
    I've heard enough about KRM. Yes, I would like it. But, will it turn around all the problems Racine county is facing? Hardly! It's one small puzzle piece in a very big picture.
    Am I enthralled with Lehman and Mason for everythingthey have done or voted on? Hardly. Just ask either of them at how many times I have disagreed with them on particular items. But, they are decent and honest men. Respectful and patient and don't blow smoke up my ass like Ryan does.
    Yes, Ryan blows smoke up everyone's behinds and you idiots think he's got "ideas". Really? Because I just wrote about a meeting where the republican party is re-imaging itself. At their first meeting they shied away from even using the term "republican". What does that tell you? They don't even want to be them anymore. Republicans like Ryan have NO NEW IDEAS so they just keep rehashing the old with different dressings. Ryan slides through his job with gleeming teeth and on a layer of bullshit a foot deep.
    BTW Karen probably didn't repost because, unlike some of you, Karen and I have real lives that need our attention........

  17. One more thing......I see some of you would rather talk about Lehman and Mason and KRM than Ryan. I wonder why that is? Perhaps because Bush's private lapdog hasn't done crap for his district? Because he voted to go to war without proper withdrawl plans? One of you Ryan devotees should share with the rest of us exactly what Ryan has done to save jobs in his district. What has he done to bring business here? Name one business that moved into his district that he helped with. He voted against the stimulus package, is he going to flip flop and now try to get some of that money or is he going to stand his moral ground and try to keep it out of his district?

  18. I've got news for you Kay, I'm a Democrat and I'm pissed off.

    Name another economic project that is on the table that could have a bigger potential impact than KRM in Racine.

    The answer is that there isn't one. It is a piece, but not small. In these tough economic times we Democrats expect better from fellow Democrats. We can't afford to wait anymore. Things have to start getting done. This fake proposal at best just delays the inevitable that KRM won't be killed immediately - it will just die a slower death and die slow enough to make it look like they are working on it.

    Who do these morons at the head of the party think they are fooling? We're not as stupid as they seem to think and we see right through their game.

    If Democrats, which control government in Wisconsin mind you, can't' get KRM done this year, then it will never get done period. Republicans will never do it, the only hope is the current legislature. Racine gets screwed again, but this time by the very people we voted for. What a betrayal...and now they want a favor?

    These establishment Democrats only take orders from the top. They may be decent and nice people, I'll give you that. But me, I want results not niceness. They are literally killing us with kindness down here. Maybe they should get a little nastier, a little tougher and start getting things actually done.

    Dems in WI couldn't get together for a regional transit authority (RTA). Have you asked them why? Have you asked them how they have the nerve to ask for regional participation to throw out Paul Ryan when they can't even participate regionally to get KRM done? They have the audacity to ask for our help when they vanished on KRM, the biggest potential game changer Racine has seen in years.

    No thanks.

    Get me a party and candidates that get results here in Racine before you ask us about Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan isn't as much of our problem as Madison is right now. At least with Paul Ryan I expect to get screwed.....I didn't expect to get screwed from Madison Democrats. Stand up for Racine and we'll stand up for you.

    I admire your passion Kay, and I hope the Democrats in Madison come through for us. Right now I feel we are being ignored and made to believe that they are working on things. It's all just a big scam so they can play it safe and hold onto their seats. Where is the honor in that?

  19. Hey, Kay

    Ryan voted the same way your girl Shrillary did. They were both right.

    As far as Lehman voting against KRM, that was the first thing he's ever gotten RIGHT.

  20. Why do so many people think KRM is going to solve so many of the city of Racine's problems?
    I just don't understand who is in desperate need of transportation to jobs that don't exist anymore.
    I live in the west end of the county and I am in favor of KRM and don't mind an extra sales tax tacked onto the items I buy to pay for it.
    But, no! That would be evil beyond all evil to add another tax according to ---- ta da! Republicans just like Paul Ryan.

    Why are democrats so nervous about voting for KRM taxes? Because idiots like Vos get elected and go around and promote the silly notion that any tax is an evil tax and people are stupid enough to believe it. People want to believe it because it is what they have learned from their parents, and grandparents and all their relatives.
    So, what do democrats do? They avoid the discussion of new taxes at all costs because if they don't they know Vos, McReynolds (uggh), Kerkman etc will have a field day in the next election. It's like a fixed game of cards. These republican lie masters have been brainwashing people for so long that it's comparable to stacking a deck.

    When democrats talk about taxes actually being investments in our some ill advised republican starts the whining, ranting and moaning until those cries spread like avian flu.

    Go ahead and recall Lehman. What are you going to end up with? A McReynolds who will fight tooth and nail against decent public education, against expanded health care coverage, someone who's about a decade behind the green train they're all so anxious to hop on now. Basically, someone who is going to fight against all the other pieces of the puzzle. Racine cannot dig itself out of the hole it is in without huge improvements in education, training, access to health care for more people (particularly mental health care IMHO) because uneducated, untrained and ill people just cannot find and keep jobs that pay enough for them to support themselves.
    You want to start to save Racine right now, today? Don't shop at Walmart and instead choose a locally owned store. Don't go outside of Racine for entertainment. Don't take a vacation, do a stay-vacation at North beach. Volunteer to mentor a kid so they stay in school and out of trouble.

  21. Here's the problem Kay, and I'm just being really honest.

    There are many fantastic things you propose and most cost money. We must be strategic in our spending but at some point you have to make investments.

    If the Democrat position is always going to be to cater to Repubs on this tax issue then we will never get anywhere. Nothing will ever get done because money is always off the table.

    If people don't understand that that is an investment then it is our fault for not doing a good enough time justifying the plan.

    When are we going to stand up to this and start fighting for projects that make sense? If we are going to constantly be chickens,then you might as well have Republicans in office.

    You nailed it though. Dems are afraid.

    If that is the case then just say it. Don't pretend to care and put forth crazy solutions that nobody believes will work. There are a lot of people fighting for these projects, putting their heart into it because they thought there was actually a chance.

    Then we learn there wasn't because the Dems were chickens and are apparently incapable of explaining what an investment is to the public. All of those people that worked so hard....Do not waste our time. Just make your official position that you will not support a sales tax increase under any circumstances ever. Funny, that sounds a lot like Republican thinking!

    It's time for change. We can't afford this never ending cycle of nothing anymore. I don't want nothing, I want results.

    Once we get our backbone back, then we can talk Paul Ryan. Until you find that then you won't beat him anyway so it is pointless.

    The chickens want us to fight for them. No way. Do it yourself since you've left us alone out here. Come to our table first since we put you there to begin with.

    If Democrats in Madison don't want to stand up, then stand down. You will be replaced and we will find people willing to do what is necessary. Kay - that ultimately helps us more in the long run. I know it sounds strange to say, but it is true. Some of your projects might be able to actually get done if we had people willing to act.

    Imagine if Lehman and Mason had stood up to the party and demanded this get done? Do you know how energized people here would have been? They would have done whatever it took to keep them in office. They would be highly respected and regarded around here as heros.

    That didn't happen. It's unfortunate because those are the types of people we need right now and not a bunch of yes men that just follow the party line.

    Look what happened to Turner tonight. He's the just the first. People are pissed and aren't going to accept failure anymore.

    We will lose seats if this issue isn't fixed immediately. Leaders wanted.