Citizen participation in precinct caucuses

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Precinct caucuses are coming in March. Minnesotans will gather in schools and community buildings. Some groups will be small – only five or six people. The largest groups may have more than fifty people. In each group, people will have three things in common: they will be neighbors, they will be eligible to vote by November, and they will support the same political party.

Precinct caucuses are the smallest unit of party politics. Democrats meet with Democrats. Republicans meet with Republicans. Greens meet with Greens. They discuss candidates who will run for office in the next election. This year they will talk about Congressional candidates, Senatorial candidates, candidates for Governor and statewide offices and candidates for the state legislature. Some of those candidates may visit the caucus and talk.

People at the caucus also discuss issues that are important to them. They propose resolutions and vote on the resolutions. If a majority of the people at the caucus vote for a resolution, that resolution will be sent to the next level of party meetings.

A resolution usually has two parts. The first part describes a problem or concern. The second part says what should be done about that problem or concern. Here is an example of a resolution:

“WHEREAS immigrants make valuable contributions to Minnesota’s economy;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the legislature shall establish a college scholarship fund for children of immigrants.”

Finally, people at each precinct caucus elect delegates to go to the next level of party meeting, such as a district or county convention.

The Minneapolis Children’s Advocacy Network and The Minnesota Participation Project are hosting several nonpartisan workshops to train community members on the role and importance of precinct caucuses. Workshop participants will learn how to:

• Create and introduce resolutions

• Learn how your party chooses candidates for endorsement,

• Gain a fuller understanding of the precinct caucus process and participatory democracy.

Tuesday 2/7/06 Unity House 6:00—8:00 pm 2507 Fremont Ave North (English) Minneapolis, MN 55411

Thursday 2/9/06 Oak Park Center 5:30—7:30 pm 1701 Oak Park Ave North (English) Minneapolis, MN 55411

Thursday 2/23/06 Waite House 5:00—7:00 pm 2529 13th Ave South (Spanish only) Minneapolis, MN 55404

Additional trainings are being scheduled, including at least one Saturday afternoon training at the Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneause them to make your voice count.

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