Engaging a Speaker…Part 1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Lakewood, Wisconsin – September 7, 2010 

Authors, Experts and Activists Will Gather at Fighting Bob Fest 

Denis Gullickson and John Gaie, authors of The Monfils Conspiracy: The Conviction of Six Innocent Men will be promoting their book and the innocence of Dale Basten, Mike Hirn, Mike Johnson, Keith Kutska, and Rey Moore at an annual gathering of progressive activists this coming Saturday, September 11, in Baraboo, Wisconsin. 

Along with exoneree Mike Piaskowski, Midwest Marketing Director Joan Treppa, and private investigator Johnny Johnson, Gullickson and Gaie will be talking to progressives at Fighting Bob Fest at the Sauk County Fairgrounds. Keynote speakers at the event will include, (main speaker to be disclosed in part 2), Tammy Baldwin, Jim Hightower, David Obey, Mike McCabe and others. 

“This will give us an opportunity to take our cause to the progressives from throughout the state and the Midwest,” said Gullickson. “The folks who attend this event are exactly the kinds of people who can help us further our efforts to gain justice for our guys, because they are passionate about what they believe. It also gives us a chance to support Ed Garvey who has become very involved in our cause.” 

Garvey, a highly-respected Madison attorney and political activist, is the founding force behind Fighting Bob Fest. The Fest is an annual political event that has grown from 1000 attendees in 2001 to over 8000 in 2009. In July, Gullickson, Gaie, Piaskowski, Treppa, and Johnson met with Garvey to explore avenues for pushing for new trials or the outright release of the five men who remain incarcerated in Wisconsin prisons. Garvey—who serves as emcee for the event—will be plugging the book and the cause from the dais throughout the day. 

“At the very least we intend to hand a book directly to (main keynote speaker),” said Gaie. “Rey Moore was a delegate for him when he ran for president. We’ve had a pretty successful summer expanding our circle through Ed Garvey. If we can get (this person) involved, we can take our efforts to the next level.” 

According to the event’s website, Fighting Bob Fest is “an old fashioned Chautauqua” named in honor of “Wisconsin’s most famous hell raiser, Fighting Bob La Follette. La Follette fought for democracy and economic fairness; he busted trusts, railed against the robber barons’ control over the political system, called for open primaries, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. He thought people and ideas should rule instead of Big Money.” 

This event represents a lesson learned in the series of highs and lows we experienced while helping to free five innocent men. On this day, my optimism overflowed with possibilities. But this encounter would be a wake-up call regarding the inaction we’d encounter over time.

Accompanying me on this new adventure was my sister, Clare. She and I were great at accomplishing the impossible because of our mutual abandonment of all reason or adverse thoughts. To us, that only inhibited success. Growing up, Clare was a mentor, an inspiration for the person I would become. She had always been there for me and this day was no different. Her reasons for being there were twofold; first…to support my calling and second…because of her personal friendship with Reynold Moore, an innocent man serving a life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.

Our motivations were also borne out of Rey’s connection to the keynote speaker for this event. Clare and I were going to demonstrate how enterprising we could be by making a concerted effort to stop this famous person dead in his tracks and demand that he acknowledge our mission! We had a plan in place and when the opportunity arose, we would be ready.

As we waited for the arrival of this guest, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a food stand near our booth with a clear view of the road that would bring him onto the event grounds. We were finishing up when Clare yelled, “Joan, come on, there he is!! Let’s grab the book and get in position! Hurry or we will miss our chance! I turned to look in the direction she was pointing to in time to see three black sedans turning onto and grounds, heading toward the parking area. It was him! So far, our plan was coming together. And it soon became clear which route this person would be taking in order to get to the main stage.

I was proud of my big sister for what she did next…

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