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Home23-24 LWVLA Program Recordings

2024 Annual Meeting
LWVLA  members gathered for dinner on May 21 to celebrate their centennial year with a skit based on the minutes of the 1924 inaugural meeting and a LWVLA trivia contest.  The annual business meeting followed the centennial program. 

April Lunch & Learn
Upper Mississippi River Refuge Centennial
League members visited the refuge to celebrate 100 years of wildlife preservation on the Mississippi. Hallie Schulz, Visitor Services Manager, presented a program on the history of the refuge and 100 years of conservation advocacy and action on behalf of the Upper Mississippi River. A century ago, a monumental movement of determined citizens petitioned Congress to create the largest "wild-life preserve" ever in order to save their favorite upper Mississippi River backwaters from being drained and converted to farmland. The Refuge stretches 261 river miles from Wabasha, Minnesota to Rock Island, Illinois, protecting over 240,000 acres of Mississippi River floodplain.


Hallie Schulz has worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service for 20 years as a “Refuge Ranger” at various sites and has been with the Upper Miss River Refuge for 8 years. Her passion is all about connecting visitors with the resource andnencouraging recreation on your public lands. 
Program Resources:

Celebrate the Refuge Centennial 2024:

LWV WI Positions on Natural Resources

LWV US Impact on Issues
See Impact on Issues pg 93

Those who attended were:
Rep. Jill Billings
Rep. Steve Doyle
Rep. Loren Oldenburg
Sen. Brad Pfaff
Mary Carney, representing Rep. Derrick Van Orden
Gregg Wavrunek, representing Sen. Tammy Baldwin

February Program
Achieving Environmental Justice in Wisconsin

 What does it mean to achieve environmental justice in Wisconsin? Our presenters discuss the basic principles of environmental justice, examples of this work in practice across the state, challenges and ways that we can empower communities to reach identified goals.

Julie Majerus is Wisconsin’s first policy advisor whose position is dedicated solely to the work of environmental justice. As the Environmental Justice Policy Advisor to the Secretary’s Office, her work includes leading agency-wide initiatives and alignment in the agency’s policy development and enhanced community outreach and engagement. 

Meleesa Johnson is currently the Executive Director of WI Greenfire.  For two decades she worked in the world of solid waste management, first for Portage County and then for Marathon County. She has served on numerous boards for waste and recycling organizations and on several DNR study groups and technical advisory committees, including the PFAS External Advisory Committee.
Program Resources:

LWVWI Community Policy (formerly Urban Policy)
LWVWI Natural Resources Positions

December Lunch & Learn
Final Five Voting

 Sara Eskrich, Democracy Found, Bob Maline and Lee Rasch, Leader Ethics, reviewed the Final Five Voting process. Unfortunately, technical difficulties have made our recording of this program unavailable. In its place, we are providing our 2021 program with Sara about the theory behind Final Five Voting.  Sara’s presentation begins at minute 14:05. You may also want to review Katherine Gehl’s 17min TED Talk (linked below) that provides a brief overview of the theory and key solution.

Katherine Gehl TED Talk 
Sara Eskrich, Democracy Found
Democracy Found was co-founded by Wisconsin business leaders Katherine Gehl and Austin Ramirez in 2018.
The initiative came together based on Gehl’s origination of “Politics Industry Theory”: the use of competition theory to diagnose our political system’s problems and create innovative solutions like Final Five Voting. This theory and analysis is published in her book, The Politics Industry, and Harvard Business Review article Fixing U.S. Politics (both co-authored with HBS Professor Michael Porter). Gehl’s 17min TED Talk provides a brief overview of the theory and key solution.

November Lunch & Learn
Understanding Transgender Issues

For League, defending democracy and ending discrimination go hand in hand. Transgender Awareness Week (Nov 13-19) is an annual effort to help raise the visibility of transgender people and address concerns members of the community face. In response to 2023 as a record-breaking year for the introduction of legislation that affects trans and nonbinary people, the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area (LWVLA) will present a local panel to discuss issues affecting the human rights of transgender people.

Our Speakers:
Dr. Erin Gutowski, Gundersen Health System physician
Will Van Roosenbeek, UWL's LGBTQIA+ Services Director
Adam Whitney, UWL student

October Lunch & Learn
LWV Advocacy: Toward a More Representative State Government

LWV members work to promote an open governmental system that is representative, accountable, responsive and capable of making decisions. LWV Wisconsin Executive Director, Debra Cronmiller, provides an update on the many issues that work encompasses. Ms. Cronmiller leads the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition, so current court and legislative efforts on nonpartisan redistricting will be discussed, in addition, to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact supported by the state and national LWV, and the growing regional interest in Final Five Voting. These initiatives welcome informed champions who are committed to making a difference in Wisconsin’s electoral system!

September Lunch & Learn
Understanding Election Integrity 

Election integrity will be a top-of-mind issue for many voters in 2024. How is our right to vote protected? Can trust in our electoral processes be bolstered through citizen advocacy? Lee Rasch discusses the risk of emerging threats and new initiatives designed to raise awareness of election security in Wisconsin.

Lee Rasch founded LeaderEthics in March 2018, a non-profit/non-partisan organization committed to promoting ethical leadership among elected officials. He serves as the Executive Director of the organization. Prior to this experience, he served as President of Western Technical College from 1989 to 2017. Throughout his career, he has actively promoted ethical leadership development, continuous improvement, economic development and sustainability.  He has written numerous articles and extensively provided presentations on these topics. Lee chaired the Legislative Committee for the Wisconsin Technical College System for more than 15 years.

Lee Rasch is also  a member of the recently-formed Wisconsin Advisory Council for Keep Our Republic (KOR), a nonpartisan civic action organization dedicated to strengthening the checks and balances of our nation’s electoral system. Founded in 2020, KOR is focusing outreach efforts in several key states to help educate the public, challenge complacency and restore a sense of engagement at the community level.

Related Resources:
• Intro to Keep Our Republic 
• League of Women Voters: Democracy Truth Project
• Wisconsin Elections Commission video: Election Security 101 
• The Brookings Institution: How AI will transform 2024 elections
• Wisconsin Examiner: Kathy Bernier's Election 101 is in session