Nominate a Progressive Leader for a 2015 Activist Award!

Do you know a progressive activist in Wisconsin that really went the extra mile to make a difference this year? Across Wisconsin dedicated leaders fought hard to improve their communities, elect their candidates and make their voices heard. We believe that those fighting to improve Wisconsin should be recognized. Then nominate them for a 2014 Achievement Award to have their work recognized at our annual membership meeting December 11th!

Please include their name, city and a brief explanation of the work they did this year below. All those nominated will have their name appear during our membership meeting award presentation and will be recognized publicly on our website and Facebook page. 

Deadline to nominate is xxxxxxxxxxxx at midnight!

Issues with voting/nominating? Send your vote or nomination to

John Dietz, Reedsburg

John is a tireless progressive worker and retired US Mail Carrier.  He is a second term Sauk County Supervisor.  He tried to get the Sauk County Board to pass a referendum for the Gov. to accept the Medicaid expansion funds. He is on the Reedsburg Town Planning Committee.  He was instrumental in the movement of BobFest back to Baraboo.  He was on the kitchen cabinet for Chris Miller, who ran against Ed Brooks in the 50th. Assembly District.  He helped paint and install numerous candidate signs around Sauk County.  He canvassed for progressive candidates for the Nov election as well as helping organizing the events.  He also helped set up/move out the Sauk County Dem. HQ in Reedsburg.  He is also active in our Progressive group, Reedsburg Area Concerned Citizens.  Plus he is just a good friend for anyone that needs help.

Sarah Noble, Milwaukee

Sarah has been a powerful advocate for women's health, reproductive justice and quality health coverage for all. Her work to guarantee coverage took the form of advocating for vital health enrollment options, education people about their coverage choices, and fighting for better health coverage. Sarah led a team of canvassers and volunteers to promote the BadgerCare referendum in Milwaukee and educate people about the state's rejection of the federal funds!

Dawn Anderson, Milwaukee

Dawn has worked tirelessly to advance the rights of Wisconsinites to access quality affordable health care. She, as the executive director of the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition has fought to ensure that public policy is in place that has the best chance to help those with cancer and survivors, and in the process helped all those who are not directly impacted by this condition. Her help promoting the BadgerCare referendums are a model for how health charities should work in the 21st century to ensure everyone has access to quality affordable coverage

Kirk Lund, Lake Mills

Kirk Lund is a newly elected Jefferson County Board Supervisor, successfully advanced a referendum question calling on the state to accept federal funds for expansion of Badger Care.  The referendum question passed by an overwhelming majority in the November election.

Mary Laan, Milwaukee

As the long-time leader of Move to Amend of Southeastern Wisconsin, Mary Laan continues to have a tireless passion about getting money out of politics.  As a physician assistant, she is also especially concerned about women's access to health care, among other issues.  She is fluent in Spanish and has worked with migrants.  On a daily basis, Mary lives out her principles of social justice and sees the fact that a corporation is not a person as a social justice issue! People who know Mary see her as down-to-earth and approachable, with compassion for all.

Pat Popple, Chippewa Falls

Pat Popple has been working tirelessly for many years to spread the word about the frac sand mining industry.  Educating the public and elected officials on the need to provide protections ensuring the health, safety and quality of life for people living anywhere near mines and processing facilities has been her major gift to the citizens of western Wisconsin and also to many throughout other neighboring areas impacted by frac sand mining.
One way she does this is via her web site:
Another is her frequent email notice to a long email distribution list.
She has devoted so much of her time volunteering in this effort and has so much compassion and knowledge about it that her name has become synonymous with efforts to provide environmental protections from the ravages of frac sand mining.

Al Guyant, Sun Prairie

Al is a tour de force of local organizing.  A core member of the Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC), he takes local action to the next level by stepping up to serve on both the City Council and the library board.  As a council member, he has changed the tone of the way we do politics in Sun Prairie, calling  for more transparency and local input at every turn. In addition, he manages to volunteer his time and organizational expertise on local and statewide campaigns and actions.  He was a constant presence at the Sun Prairie for Mary Burke office, and has volunteered thousands of hours to make a local impact and support local progressives.  Al has been a driving force in helping find progressive candidates and connect them to the resources needed to run for office, and has worked tirelessly to connect local progressives to build a sense of community in Sun Prairie.

Shelly Brenneman, Valley Stewardship Network

Shelly has been a tireless activist for protection of our local Kickapoo River and adjacent watersheds. She has spearheaded new programs at Valley Stewardship Network that are designed to work with landowners, farmers, and other interested people to create best management practices on their land. She is warm-hearted and kind and seeks to unite folks from all walks of life in their common goal of keeping our rivers healthy. Cattle farmers seek her help to develop nutrient management plans, to keep nutrients on the land and out of the water. Other landowners have included pollinator habitats and buffer strips to promote the greatest natural diversity in our riparian ecosystems. Shelly works well with everyone and has begun a new chapter in the history of Valley Stewardship Network by forming partnerships with other organizations including the Prairie Enthusiasts and Kickapoo Woods Cooperative. Trout Unlimited and Vernon County Land and Water Conservation Dept have also worked with Shelly and VSN to promote programs that protect our unique and diverse ecosystems in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin. Shelly has been a real force for uniting conservation voices from all over and from different viewpoints. She is a true steward of the land. 

Advocacy by Arco Cohousing

I'd like to nominate the whole Arbco or Arboretum Cohousing for the tremendous organizing they did in the Recall Walker campaign. They printed out buttons, marched, sang, and worked in solidarity in the campaign. Their interests were for the good of the community, unions, and marginalized people.

Katherine van Wormer

Katie Schierl, Town of Clayton

This lady is as passionate a self-starter as I have ever met. She doesn't align with any political party, but puts her heart and soul into whatever cause or issue she feels is important. She provided the vision and the energy behind the Move to Amend petition drive in Neenah and Menasha.  In addition, she was always on hand to help with the grunt work. No task was to "low" for her. She's an ordinary citizen with an extra-ordinary commitment to fair play for all people.

Michael Langyel, Waukesha

Michael has been a tireless advocate to improve Wisconsin and southeastern Wisconsin especially. As a former leader in the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, Michael has been very active in Organizing for Action, Grassroots Waukesha, Waukesha for BadgerCare as well as efforts to engage retired public sector workers in elections. Michael has fought to preserve and advance the Affordable Care Act and to convince the state to accept BadgerCare funding, scheduling meetings, recruiting allies, talking to legislators and organizing actions. 

Connie Raether, Appleton WI

Her activism and her inspiration for our proactive health care strategy.

Laura Lokken, Wisconsin Rapids

Laura has been exceptionally active in seeking to make Wood county a better place to live and work. Together with her work at her church as well as the grassroots group "Middle Wisconsin" Laura has fought to ensure that the twin issues of minimum wage and accepting the funds for BadgerCare received important attention. She collected over 2,000 petitions on minimum wage and successfully fought to ensure that Wood county had both a referendum on raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and a referendum on accepting the federal funds for BadgerCare!

Angela Walker, Milwaukee, WI

Angela ran a campaign for sheriff of Milwaukee County against David Clarke.  She ran as a free-range socialist.  Angela received 20% of the vote on November 4.  She is focused on raising the minimum wage and dealing with mass minority incarceration in our state. She is very engaged politically for justice.


Jen Miller From Oshkosh

Jen helped many communities to organize and follow through with our recent Wi. Move To Amend. As you know we won in all of the communities she helped. City of Neenah, Menasha, Appleton, Green Bay, etc.    

Joanne Kaus Grafton, Wisconsin

Joanne Kaus volunteers more than anyone I know.  She spent 40 hours a week canvassing for several months in the lastelection and has been doing so since 2008. In addition to that she volunteers and does taxes for seniors through the AARP every year. It's time for Joanne to be publicly recognized and warded.

Joel and Melissa Lewis, Wausau, WI

Joel and Melissa Lewis have been great advocates for raising the minimum wage. They both work tirelessly rounding up their group whenever we have an action. Both have deep roots in our community and strive to make it a better place for all.

Scott Von Asten, Baraboo, WI 53913

Scott Von Asten has been quietly pursuing the development of Progressive Sauk (County) as a Sauk County Supervisor and dedicated progressive acting as Campaign Manager (and colleague) for the "unapologetic progressive" candidate for the 81st Assembly, Peter J. Vedro. 

Richard and Audrey Costerisan

Richard and Audrey Costerisan, Siren, Wi, are the Chairman and Treasurer respectively of the Burnett County Democrats.  They have worked tirelessly for progressive causes.  Richard informs all the Burnett County Democrats of important issues, hosts fundraisers for progressive candidates, and he and Audrey even put up yard signs.  Richard is a Vietnam Veteran.  Both Richard and Audrey have been active in labor unions.  Although Burnett County has a small population, Richard and Audrey have made the Democratic Party an active and growing force in local politics.

Heather Andersen, Bloomer, WI

Heather has worked tirelessly to preserve the natural resources and beauty of Western Wisconsin.  She has been a leader in the fight against frac sand mining in not only her home county of Chippewa County, but across Western WI and Southeastern MN.  She has spent hours working with small citizen groups who are engaged in the same fight against this industry which takes pride in "leveling the hills" of Western WI.  She has helped organize citizens to take action and fight against an industry that has deep pockets.  She traveled to Colorado this summer to speak before the Environmental Protection Agency in one of several public hearings across the country on climate change.  She is one of the most courageous and brave women I know.  She is 70 years old and yet never stops in her journey to protect our environment.  She attends all of her town board meetings. She is always the first to speak up and speak out.  She gives us all the courage to do the same.  If it were not for her, I would never have been brave enough to run for and win a seat on my county board. Under Heather's watch, we can all be sure that our lands  are a wee bit safer.  This is a long fight and I know that Heather will never give up. Heather is the voice for those who have no voice and for our lands and water and air. 

Penny Bernard Schaber

Penny Bernard Schaber has been a progressive voice in the Wisconsin Assembly. She took on the task of running for Mike Ellis' State Senate seat this Fall despite the long odds due to gerrymandering. She should be recognized for her selfless devotion to making Wisconsin a better place for all of its citizens. Thank you.

Randy OConnell Omro WI

Randy was a tireless worker in the recent Governors race. He spent weeks of his own time helping to get people to vote.He drove from Omro to Milwaukee everyday & picked up people all over Milwaukee & take them to vote early. He used his own car and lieterally drove 1,000's of miles at his own expense. Randy ran for a DNR post in his area & spent a lot of time preparing & giving his speech. He attended many DNR meetings and voices his opinion in a respectful & intelligent manner He also did a lot of canvasing work during the recall in both Oshkosh & Milwaukee, sometimes being treated very rudely. He is a man of true integrity, and has " WALKED THE WALK" because he doesn't jsut "TALK THE TALK". He has been a true inspiration to me & my Family. Sincerely, John Dimond, Jefferson, WI

Chris Prust - Hearing Loop and Consumer Advocate in Oshkosh WI

I would like to nominate Chris Prust. She is a person who has lived with hearing loss for nearly her whole life. In 2009 Chris discovered that with the help of a hearing loop ( a system that sends audio signals wirelessly via magnetic waves to a small telecoil receiver found in many hearing aids and cochlear implants) she was able to hear every word in her House of Worship in Oshkosh WI. Since then she has worked tirelessly to get the word on the benefits of hearing loops out in Wisconsin.

A few examples:

Chris was instrumental on a committee that worked to raise the funds for the hearing loop at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. The Fox Cities community foundation wrote a great story about her see

She has quilted the hearing loop logo and it is part of a traveling exhibit that goes to churches and libraries:

She is a hearing loss and hearing loop advocate extraordinaire – see her video here: and read quotes in this article here:

Chris has written numerous letters in support of loops, letters to editors, newsletters, and presented on loop benefits to audiologists, aging care professionals, parents of Hard of Hearing children, audio engineers, audiology students, church councils, learning in retirement groups- frankly anybody who dares to get into an elevator gets to hear this “spiel”. She is without a doubt, Wisconsin’s most avid hearing loop consumer advocate and she a big part of the reason that loops have taken off in Wisconsin (now nearing 450 loops).     

For more information see or 

Nominated by Juliette Sterkens, AuD 

Eleanor Wolf, Eau Claire

I nominate Eleanor Wolfe because she has knocked on more doors than anyone else I have heard of to inform and encourage signing up for the ACA exchanges and to promote the Medicaid and Min. Wage referendums in Eau Claire County, especially among those most affected by them. 

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