Democratic Weekly Radio Address: "A Year for the Wisconsin History Books"
The following Democratic Weekly Radio Address from Rep. Peter Barca has been cross-posted from WisPolitics
Thinking back over this past year, it is easy to get disheartened, discouraged ... even upset. Wisconsin has changed dramatically, and there is much I no longer recognize about our state.
Wisconsin used to be among the leading states in the nation in education, in health care quality and access, and we had a reputation for clean and open government, civil dialogue and reasonable political solutions.
As 2011 comes to a close, unfortunately we now lead the nation in job loss. We are second in the nation in cuts to public education. And, we lead the nation in political polarization. Wisconsin is, sadly, a state divided.
Yet, I want to talk today about hope. Time magazine named the protestor its person of the year for 2011. Much of it started right here in Wisconsin in February when Gov. Walker took away workers' rights. It continued as he cut public education, cut programs that allow seniors to stay in their homes, cut health care for struggling families and cut job training.
How in the midst of all these harmful changes, do I see hope? Because I see the way people responded. The people of Wisconsin are more involved than ever in their civic life. They are proving just how deeply they care about their communities and our state.
Wisconsinites of all political stripes have been at the Capitol, writing their newspapers, signing petitions – and advocating for all the working families who are struggling in these difficult economic times.
Taking back our state is not about a political party. It is a fight for Wisconsin values: working together, protecting education, helping struggling families and creating a vibrant economy where everyone benefits – not just politically connected special interests.
This involvement, this enthusiasm, this dedication shows me that working together we can take back our state. We can return to open, transparent government. We can find elected officials who value working together, finding solutions, listening to the people.
2011 will go down in Wisconsin history – as an example of the power of citizens who joined together, got involved and fought back when they saw their state harmed and divided in a manner not keeping with our Wisconsin traditions.
So whatever your political perspective – I urge everyone to remain engaged in the coming year. As the ceiling in the governor's conference room reads: "The will of the people is the law of the land." Let's make that our creed for 2012 as we move forward.
Happy holidays to all of you and a happy New Year for Wisconsin.