Dems, GOP jointly sponsor speaker on foreign government influence

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By Correne Martin

The Republican and Democratic parties of Crawford County are coming together to sponsor a speaker on the techniques and actors foreign governments employ to influence democratic institutions. Dave Schroeder, strategist and senior cyber subject matter expert at UW-Madison, will talk and lead a free and public discussion on this topic at the Prairie du Chien High School Little Theater on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m.

“Two major political parties jointly sponsoring something is almost unheard of. It’s something that’s missing in politics, but this issue is one that should concern everyone,” said Democratic Party Chair Dale Klemme. “We encourage all to come to this non-partisan event.”

Schroeder has served as a cryptologic warfare officer and intelligence professional in the United States Navy. His expertise includes military cyber operations, foreign intelligence and foreign cyber-enabled information and influence operations. He holds master’s degrees in cybersecurity policy and information warfare, a graduate certificate in space systems from the Naval Postgraduate School, and is a graduate of the Naval War College and Joint Forces Staff College.

“I heard this speaker at a local Rotary luncheon a few months ago, and what he spoke of was not any partisan politics but something we may believe only happens on Election Day,” Klemme stated. “I was shocked to hear what goes on all the time. I thought, ‘this isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue, it’s a national issue.’”

Klemme said he reached out to Dave Wesener, Crawford County’s Republican Party chair, and asked about jointly sponsoring Schroeder’s presentation locally, and he agreed. 

The two parties have arranged the discussion, which should be about an hour long. Written questions will be taken the night of the event. 

“It’s going to be an interesting night. This speaker’s military background and area he served makes him an expert. It’s nice to have someone of his caliber coming to Crawford County,” Wesener added. “This is for people from all sides of the political spectrum. When you have people trying to influence your thoughts, no matter where in life, you need to be aware of that.”

While this opportunity is free, a table will also be set up where attendees can drop non-perishable food and toiletry donations to be given to the Prairie du Chien food pantry. 

For more information, contact Wesener at (715) 459-6204, or Klemme at 326-4225.

“This is going to give people insights that they may not have ever considered,” Wesener said.

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