November 2 was a bleak day for liberal voters like Jacque Pokorney, co-chair of the local political party Progressive Dane.
"It was very depressing for someone that supports the progressive left to go through what we went through in the last election," Pokorney says of the recent Republican sweep at both the state and national level.
But the party is not dwelling on its disappointment. With the upcoming spring elections, Progressive Dane met on Wednesday at the city's Central Library to update its city issues platform.
About a dozen people -- mainly party members -- attended the meeting for the biennial platform update. They reviewed the drafted changes from the elections and steerage committee and also contributed their own ideas for party goals.
Some of the more significant changes related to the city development approval process. In particular, Progressive Dane clarified in its platform that it supports more transparency and neighborhood involvement when deciding on large-scale projects. However, the party did not single out any project as a cause for the amendments.
"The changes read like they have been written in response to the Edgewater proposal, but all the [Tax Incremental Financing] changes well predate the Edgewater," party member T.J. Mertz, who will run for the District 13 seat currently held by Julia Kerr, told the gathering.
The members also expanded language in favor of keeping Madison a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants and not cooperating with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Pokorney says this measure is especially timely, as the new Republican-dominated state government is rumored to be considering an anti-immigration law similar to the controversial measure passed by Arizona earlier this year.
With their newly approved platform changes, Pokorney says the party can now move forward with interviewing potential candidates for endorsements. Even current Progressive Dane city council members Mike Verveer, Marsha Rummel and Satya Rhodes-Conway will have to be reevaluated by the party.
And in an effort to rouse interest in voting or supporting a political campaign -- regardless of party orientation -- the party is hosting a "campaign school" at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Social Justice Center on Williamson St.
While some believe Progressive Dane is losing its luster in the local political scene, Pokorney still has hope for the party's future.
"We definitely had a lot of excitement around Ben Manski's campaign for the 77th Assembly district seat," Pokorney says. "And there are still people out there fighting for progressive causes even if they are not overtly active in the party and not running for office."
Pokorney envisions more candidates like Manski: people willing to stand for something regardless of whether or not it's popular.
"I think that now is that time where I personally am looking for leaders to say, 'Let's be bold and progressive, not cautious,'" Pokorney says. "I think caution is what defeated the Democrats this year."