Wisconsin Green Party
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, December 12, 2005
Ruth Weill, Co-chair, Wisconsin Green Party, 414-562-6097, 414-350-2107
Jeff Peterson, Coordinator, Bring the Troops Home Campaign, 715-472-2728
Milwaukee, Madison and 12 other communities likely to vote on Bringing the Troops Home
In April the Wisconsin Green Party membership voted to initiate an effort to put a Bring the Troops Home question on ballots throughout Wisconsin. Those efforts have been productive. Madison will have such a question on the ballot in April, and Milwaukee is likely to in November. At least twelve other communities in Wisconsin will have the question on their April ballots as well.
“This successful exercise in democracy is the result of a state coalition - church groups, peace and justice organizations, veterans, and concerned citizens have worked hard to bring this question to the voters,” said Jeff Peterson, coordinator of the Bring the Troops Home Coalition, and a member of the Wisconsin Green Party. “The effort has really taken off, as grassroots efforts do.”
On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council voted to put this question on the November ballot. “Shall the United States commence a humane, orderly, rapid and comprehensive withdrawal of United States military personnel and bases from Iraq?” Eight aldermen voted in favor, and 7 against, with 1 abstention. A last-minute move by Alderman. Jim Bohl postponed the final decision until the next Common Council meeting, scheduled for Jan. 18.
“We are glad to see that the Milwaukee Common Council has voted to give people a voice on the issue of Iraq,” said Ruth Weill, Co-chair of the Wisconsin Green Party and resident of Milwaukee. “The war in Iraq affects our communities. Our loved ones are deployed there, and our taxes are spent on the war, rather than on health care, education, and security at home. We support giving people a say about the policies that affect them so deeply. We hope that the vote on January 18th will again favor giving Milwaukee voters a voice on this issue.”
Most local referendum efforts are utilizing a little-used state statute (9.20) that provides a process by which citizens may petition to have a resolution either adopted by their city council or put before voters in a referendum. Petitioners in Algoma, Amery, Casco, Ephraim, Egg Harbor, Evansville, Forestville, Kewaunee, LaCrosse, Luxemburg, Madison, Shorewood, Sister Bay, and Sturgeon Bay have collected the required number of signatures, and have turned their petitions in to their local Common Councils.
In Frederic and Monona, the required number of signatures has been collected, but the petitions have not yet been turned in. Monona petitioners will be turning their signatures in Wednesday morning. Activists in cities such as Green Bay and Milwaukee are asking their Common Councils to allow voters to weigh in on this issue. Citizens in Manitowoc County asked the Manitowoc County Board to put the question on the ballot countywide in April, but the Legislative Committee of the Manitowoc County Board of Supervisors declined to act on the proposal and the effort died. Citizens in the cities of Manitowoc and Two Rivers are circulating petitions to put a Bring the Troops Home question on the ballot in those two communities. “It strikes me as ironic that while United States troops are, according to President Bush, fighting to bring democracy to Iraq, the recent decision by the Manitowoc County Board of Supervisors Legislative Committee has limited democracy in our county,” wrote Mary Thiesen, a resident of Manitowoc County, in a letter to the editor in the Herald Times Reporter, a Manitowoc paper. More than 16 other communities are working to get an opportunity to vote on bringing the troops home from Iraq. Oshkosh and Sawyer County are among them. The Wisconsin Green Party stands on the four pillars of Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, and Nonviolence.
For more information, visit <http://www.wisconsingreenparty.org>. The Green Party of the United States' website is <http://www.gp.org>. For more information on the Bring the Troops Home campaign, visit <http://www.wisconsingreenparty.org/iraqreferendum/> or <http://www.wnpj.org/homenow>. Distributed by the Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org