Looking for a Few Good Legislative Leaders

Looking for a Few Good Legislative Leaders

2021 | Week of January 4 | Radio Transcript #1393

In 1779, a Marine Captain advertised the need for a “few good men” to enlist in the Marines. Over 200 years later, that phrase became a Marine recruiting slogan. Someone else has said, “Everything rises or falls on leadership.” Thinking about the new legislature that is being sworn in this week in Madison, we might combine and paraphrase those two statements into “We’re looking for a few good legislators because we know that our state will rise or fall on good leadership.”

Fundamentally, leadership is not an elected position; it’s a life philosophy. Sometimes, however, as in our state legislature, elected officials get elected to leadership positions. Because the Republican majority in the state assembly has once again elected Representative Robin Vos as Speaker and Representative Jim Steineke as Majority Leader and because the Republican majority in the state senate has elected Senator Chris Kapenga as president and Senator Devin LeMahieu as majority leader in that house does not necessarily mean that any of these is a good leader.

Leadership requires courage. Leadership is about casting a vision and motivating people to accept the vision and to work to attain it. Leadership requires an ability to convince people to do the right thing at the right time; it’s the ability to motivate people to do what is best and right in any given situation.

True leaders in our state legislature will tackle the tough problems—the issues that will make or break our state because they strike at the heart of who we are as a people. These leaders won’t sit quietly by and wait to see how the political winds are blowing. Real leaders will create the winds. They’ll stand up for what is right and seek to convince others to join them. The leaders in the legislature won’t just quietly do the right thing. They’ll speak out in their caucuses, on the assembly or senate floor and in the media for the causes they believe in.

Real leaders won’t shy away from the “hot” or controversial issues of our day.  They’ll be the ones who recognize that when all is said and done, Wisconsin really is only as strong as her families. Yes, the economy of our state is a major problem. However, while financial matters certainly must be addressed, real legislative leaders will not allow the budget to occlude critical issues such as marriage and family, the sanctity of human life and religious freedom.

The truth is that it is these issues that will ultimately make or break our state and our country. Strong families which result in a strong and stable culture will endure economic downturns and often come back even stronger, thereby creating an even healthier and ultimately more resilient economy in our state. However, if we destroy, or allow to be destroyed, the foundation–marriage and family, then even if the economy does turn around, we will have even more serious problems.

Wisconsin Family Council believes the kind of leadership we need in Madison is the kind that will stand up for traditional families, people who will work to persuade, convince and lead in a direction that will protect and preserve life and religious liberty, marriage and family in our state regardless of who is in the governor’s office and regardless of political correctness or prevailing political winds.

Dealing with some of these issues will not necessarily make a politician popular among his or her peers, nor necessarily perhaps even among some of his or her constituents. Nevertheless, it’s the right thing to do, and if we are going to continue to regain ground on these literally life and death issues, then we must have true leaders step up in the state Assembly and state Senate.

Quite honestly, only one of the newly elected leaders from the majority party in both houses has shown himself time and again to be a strong pro-family leader.  What the others have evidenced too frequently is a political pragmatism that has driven most of their so-called “leadership” efforts.  While they have been elected to positions in the state legislature, this does not necessarily mean they will be the leaders we need, nor does it preclude others—be they freshmen or veterans—from stepping up and providing direction on the truly important matters should the elected leadership refuse to shoulder this responsibility.

As citizens, we need to hold legislators accountable—all of them—those who are in official leadership positions and those who are not; and we need to seek out and encourage those “few good legislators” who understand that states really do rise or fall on true leadership.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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