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Big Names Dot This Weekend's WI Progressive Grassroots Festival

February 17, 2012

MAZOMANIE, Wis. – The fourth annual Wisconsin Progressive Grassroots Festival takes place this Saturday, Feb. 18, in Mazomanie. Festival founder, Nate Timm, says this year's theme is "Taking Back Our State Together" - because he feels Wisconsin politics are at a critical point.

"Wisconsin is in trouble because they've allowed the vigorous aspects of our democracy to slip away. So, the whole point of what Wisconsin Grassroots Network is about, is reinvigorating the Democratic presence in the communities across the state of Wisconsin."

Timm says he and other Wisconsin progressives believe Gov. Scott Walker has gone too far with his budget cuts and the new laws about public employee unions, as well as proposing what they see as radical changes to the state's mining laws. Walker will almost surely face a recall election in a few months, and Timm says the outcome is not at all certain.

"It's up for grabs, and that's why people have got to get serious about getting involved. The polls would indicate that he has a lead, because we have not been historically the greatest in organizing for this kind of campaign-type work."

Keynote speakers include Matt Rothschild of Progressive Magazine and Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Kathleen Falk and Kathleen Vinehout, will also be there to meet people and take questions in the afternoon.

Timm points out that the event is not just a gathering to listen to fiery speeches, but an opportunity to do hands-on learning in several workshops.

"These sessions are an hour, rather than 45 minutes or 40 minutes. They provide time for not only presentations, but for discussion. Many of them are panels, so there will be many voices heard."

He says the emphasis will be on helping people go back to their communities across the state and organize grassroots political action groups.

The event is at at Wisconsin Heights High School, 10173 U.S. Highway 14, Mazomanie. There is a lineup of festival activities online. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with a suggested donation of $14.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI