Effective Communication and Civic Engagement:
Strategies, Techniques & Importance
– 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Roger Marten Community Center
120 S. Franklin Street, Mondovi, WI
(Just South of US-10 in the City of Mondovi)
Speaker, LeAnn R. Ralph, is a staff writer for the Colfax Messenger and the Glenwood City Tribune Press Reporter. She has been writing for newspapers for 20 years and also has written for the Dunn County News, the Country Today and the Janesville Gazette. LeAnn earned an undergraduate degree in English with a writing emphasis from UW-Whitewater, and she earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from UW-Whitewater. LeAnn is the author of five books of true stories about growing up on a small family dairy farm in West Central Wisconsin. She has been covering frac sand mines since the first mine in this area was proposed by Fairmount Minerals near Menomonie in 2006 and has written about proposals for sand mines, reclamation permits, environmental impacts, public hearings, conditional use permits, mine licensing agreements, the state Supreme Court decision regarding the Town of Cooks Valley, and boreholes. LeAnn also serves as a supervisor on the Otter Creek Town Board in Dunn County.
Presentation: Communicating in a Democracy: Letters to the Editor and speaking to elected officials. The four strands of the language arts — reading, writing, speaking and listening — are an important component of a participatory democracy. Writing Letters to the Editor for local newspapers, speaking during public comments sections of county boards, town boards, village boards and city councils and contacting state representatives and senators are an essential part of civic engagement. If you do not let elected officials know what you are thinking about a particular issue, such as frac sand mining, and how it will impact the environment, and your communities and neighborhoods, including roads and property values, they will not know their constituents’ positions. During this presentation you will learn more about communicating effectively through Letters to the Editor and will work on writing a letter. Editors love to publish letters from local residents on issues that will affect the community — with an emphasis on local, because they know their readers enjoy reading Letters to the Editor. Broadcasting a more generic Letter to the Editor to all 400+ newspapers in the state is not nearly as effective. During this presentation you will also learn more about communicating with elected officials — how to go about it, what to say and when to say it, and you will work on your own set of talking points that you can take to your next town board meeting, county board meeting or listening session of a state legislator. Let your voice be heard. Speak up!
Speaker, Ken Tschumper, is a retired dairy farmer who lives with his wife, Robin, near La Crescent, Minnesota on a farm his great grandparents homesteaded in 1867. He graduated from Winona State University in 1972 with a Degree in Biology. A life-long progressive Democrat, Ken has been involved in politics since the Vietnam War. He has served on the Governor’s Dairy Task Force, an Advisory Board to the Land Stewardship Project, and on the La Crescent Town Board. In 2006, Ken was elected to a term in the Minnesota Legislature. Among other committees, he served on the Health and Human Services Committee and was the chief author of the Minnesota Single Payer Healthcare bill, convincing 30 other members of the House to sign on as co-sponsors. He passed an update of the State Groundwater Protection Bill and was the only freshman legislator appointed to the Conference Committee for the Clean Indoor Air Act which eliminated smoking in public places and exposure to second hand smoke. In the last five years Ken and his wife, Robin, have spent their time and energy working to stop frac sand mining in southeastern Minnesota.
Presentation: We Need to Think Faster, Smarter and Bigger. Ken’s presentation will focus on techniques for better communications to and for individuals, groups and the public, especially using some aspects of current technology. He feels strongly that the anti-frac sand mining movement and other progressive movements, as well, have the potential to be much more effective and produce much more positive results.