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Shape government at its grassroots

A crucial step in the political process takes place Tuesday, February 4 and you are urged to participate.

It’s caucus time for all political parties.

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This is a chance to get involved at the grass roots level to help choose candidates for office, affect party platform policies and help select local party leadership.

Precinct caucuses are open to the public but in order to vote, offer resolutions or become a delegate, attendees must be eligible to vote in the next general election, live in the precinct and be in general agreement with the principles of the political party.

The Douglas County caucuses are for all precincts, including Alexandria Township, Alexandria W-1 P-1, Alexandria W-1 P-2, Alexandria W-2, Alexandria W-3, Alexandria W-4, Alexandria W-5 P-1, Alexandria W-5 P-2, Belle River Township, Brandon, Brandon Township, Carlos, Carlos Township, Evansville, Evansville Township, Garfield, Holmes, Hudson Township, Ida Township, Kensington, LaGrand Township, Leaf Valley Township, Lund Township, Millerville, Millerville Township, Miltona, Miltona Township, Moe Township, Nelson, Orange Township, Osakis, Osakis Township, Solem Township, Spruce Hill Township and Urness Township.

DFL CAUCUS Douglas County DFL will hold its caucus for all county precincts at the Alexandria Technical College south building, Room 743, on February 4 at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for registration.

Chuck Nettestad, chair of the Douglas County DFL, encourages all citizens to get involved in the caucus.

“No matter which political party you belong to, it is in your interest – and all of our interests – to get back involved in the process” he said. “Please consider coming out to the caucus meeting and seeing government at the grassroots level.”

He added that those with an issue they’d like to promote should obtain a resolution form from the party’s website or at the caucus meeting itself.

“If you don’t get involved in helping to make our country a better place, who will?” Nettestad asked.

REPUBLICAN CAUCUS The Douglas County Republican precinct caucuses will take place Tuesday, February 4 at the Jefferson Senior High School Cafeteria in Alexandria.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the caucus will start at 7 p.m. Please know your voting precinct because members will break out into smaller groups based on this.

The caucuses serve several purposes, according to Dan Haglin, chair of the Douglas County Republican Party.

Attendees will elect delegates who will endorse individuals to become the party’s candidates at the local, congressional district and state level.

Also, attendees will cast a straw ballot to indicate their preferred Republican candidate for governor and for U.S. Senate.

The caucus is the base of the party’s grassroots efforts, Haglin said. “Precinct caucus attendees make great volunteers for candidates and the state party in the coming months. We cannot move forward without your involvement.”

The caucuses are also the start of the platform process. The resolutions that are passed at caucuses are the starting point for changes to the party’s standing platform, which states the party’s principles and beliefs.

“While the political process starts February 4, it does not end there,” Haglin said. “Over the next several months, there will be a variety of opportunities for you to support your candidates and the state party, including with phone banks, door knocking, voter ID and more.”

INDEPENDENCE CAUCUS The Independence Party of Minnesota will hold a live, online caucus on February 4 at 7 p.m.

For more information, go the website, www.mnip.org/get-involved/caucuses/live-online-caucus.

The party also plans to convene in-person caucuses throughout the state.

IP State Chair Mark Jenkins said, “Minnesotans tell us they want to get engaged in politics, but they are either wary, live too far away, or have issues that make an in-person caucus too difficult.

“We want to offer Minnesotans every opportunity to voice their concerns.”

On February 4, citizens can log into the live, online caucus from their computer browser or from their smartphone or tablet using the free Cisco WebEx app found in the device’s application store.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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