The Winneshiek County Democrats have received a program grant for $750 from the Iowa Democratic Party Harkin County Partnership Program.

This award will be used to promote internal and external communication as the local organization conducts its mission of attracting young people and rural people to become involved in party activities.

The one-time funds are being used to purchase professional services to build and monitor social media sites, such as the Winneshiek Democrats website, Facebook, and Twitter. The Winneshiek County Democrats will provide matching funds for the project.

Nancy Sjoka of Decorah, who maintains several other websites in retirement, will receive a stipend from these funds to manage the website and FaceBook accounts. Peter Olafsen, Winneshiek County Democrats Central Committee member, will monitor the Twitter feed. After the 12-month span of the grant, volunteers will take over responsibility of these sites.

The Winneshiek County group also received a grant during the 2011 inaugural year of the Harkin County Partnership Program that awarded $20,000 to counties across Iowa, supporting local Democratic Party committees in their efforts to strengthen their organizations. Due to the initial success of the program, the Iowa Democratic Party announced continuing awards for 2013.

A major goal of the Winneshiek County Democrats is to increase the diversity and representation of the Central [Democratic] Committee by recruiting people of all ages, ethnic background and income levels.

"Communication through these social media sites will, hopefully, help us accomplish this important goal," stated Georgie Klevar, vice chair of the organization and author of the grant.

"We want to involve more young people as we improve the function of our Central Committee."

To make use of the Winneshiek County Democrats expanded online presence: Follow them on Facebook at Winneshiek County Democrats. Follow them on Twitter @WinnDemsIA or visit their webpage at