The 2013 DAV Mid-Winter Conference was held February 23-27, 2013 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. Over 600 DAV members were in attendance. Representing Wisconsin were John Fredrickson, DAV State Commander; Rodney Helgeson, Sr., State Senior Vice Commander; Ken Kuehnl, State Adjutant; Dick Marbes, State Treasurer; Roger Dorman, Past Department Commander; Jamil Khan, Chapter 14 Commander; and Al Labelle, Legislative Director. Treasurer Marbes is a Past National Commander. DAV Auxiliary members attending were Betty Fredrickson and Darlene Lukins.
On opening day, Sunday February 24th, the Conference heard from VA Secretary Erik Shinseki who gave the attendees a candid assessment of VA’s status – warts and all. In the afternoon the Legislative Workshop was given by the DAV National Legislative Staff.
On Monday February 25th, the schedule included a series of presentations which included:
- DAV Service Workshop
- Inspector General Workshop
- Membership Workshop
- Voluntary Services Workshop
- Communication Workshop
During the afternoon, State Commander Fredrickson, Adjutant Kuehnl and Legislative Director Labelle met briefly with Rep. Paul Ryan, House Budget Committee Chairman. As a constituent, Adjutant Kuehnl presented Rep. Ryan with DAV’s Legislative Priorities and Issue Briefs.
Later in the afternoon, the entire delegation met with Sen. Tammy Baldwin in her Office. State Commander Fredrickson, as he did with the remaining legislators, presented her with DAV’s Legislative Priorities and Issue Briefs.
The third day, Tuesday February 26th, was highlighted by National Commander Larry A. Polzin’s presentation of the DAV 2013 Legislative Program to a Joint Session of the House and Senate VA Committees. The presentation was made before an overflow crowd of more than 400 in the Cannon House Office Building, Room 345 at 2:30 p.m. It can be found at:
His testimony was well received by the VA Committees who were quite impressed by the size of the audience. A Q&A followed the presentation.
Earlier in the day, the DAV Wisconsin delegation made its annual presentation to the Washington staff of the Wisconsin legislators in Room H122 inside the Capitol at 10:00 a.m. Staff members from 9 of the 10 Wisconsin legislators’ Offices were present. The only Washington Office not represented was Rep. Tom Petri’s. This Presentation was based on DAV’s Legislative Priorities and Issue Briefs. The day finished with the National Commander’s Reception.
On Wednesday February 27th, the Conference ended with the meetings of the Board of Directors and the National Executive Committee, but it did not end for everyone.
State Commander Fredrickson, Legislative Director Labelle and Past Department Commander Dorman stayed to meet with six more legislators between Wednesday and Friday. The list follows:
Wednesday, February 27th – Rep. Reid Ribble and Rep. Tom Petri.
Thursday, February 28th – Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Ron Kind and Rep. Sean Duffy.
Friday, March 1st – Rep. Mark Pocan.
The meetings were mostly positive with two exceptions. One legislator felt the need to convert the flock and another did reverse lobbying. Meetings were not held with Rep. James Sensenbrenner and Gwen Moore due to time constraints.