What We Need: Better Leadership

What We Need: Better Leadership

2019 | Week of June 24 | Radio Transcript #1314

What a week it’s been!  Maybe better said, what a month it’s been! Governor Evers raises for the first time ever in Wisconsin’s history the so-called “Rainbow Pride” flag over the state capitol and shortly after making the announcement, sends out an email letting people know he’s started his own petition drive seeking support for his decision. Seriously? Who has ever heard of a sitting governor conducting a petition to garner support for his action?

In response to this unprecedented and divisive decision, our organization urged people to call the Governor’s office and share their opinion on the flag; and then we launched a petition drive of our own, calling on the Governor to take the flag down and quit being divisive by giving special recognition to a select group of Wisconsin citizens over all others.

The Governor has basically doubled-down on his decision to keep the flag raised through June 30, in spite of what thousands of citizens are asking him to do.

Meanwhile late last week, again raising the ire of many conservatives, Governor Evers promptly vetoed four reasonable pro-life bills presented to him by the Republican legislature, causing Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to extol his decision. Admittedly, these bills should have been passed when Governor Walker was in office.

While all of this is going on, the state legislature is doing its best to get a budget passed—a two-year budget that reportedly looks considerably different from what the Governor’s proposed budget looks like. The Assembly is scheduled to vote on the budget this week, with the Senate presumably quickly following.

When the bill goes to the floor of both houses, no amendments can be offered; all representatives and senators will be allowed only a straight up or down vote. I’ve heard a few Republicans, who are the majority party in both the Assembly and the Senate, indicate they are voting no for the budget the Joint Finance Committee is offering because it represents too much of an increase in spending, even though the increase is less than what the Governor proposed. Then, of course, Governor Evers will go to work on it.

Some believe the governor may veto the entire Republican budget, something that hasn’t happened in this state since 1931. Republicans have countered that idea by saying they will likely not return to Madison until October to continue work on the budget. Governor Evers could, on the other hand, however, use his very powerful partial veto pen and make considerable changes to what the Republicans give him—and the Republicans don’t have the votes in either house to override his veto.

In the midst of all this Madison drama, I went to Michigan last week—and not on a vacation. I went to be part of an incredible program that we hope to bring to Wisconsin. The Student Statesmanship Institute has for over 20 years run a program for teens that isn’t just about how state government is conducted, but is really about empowering young people, especially Christian young people, to change their world.

The weeklong summer program, now called LEAD, an acronym for Learn, Empower, Act, and Discover, offers multiple tracks. Last week we had House and Senate tracks, along with Media and Business tracks. In the LEAD weeks to be held in July, in addition to House, Senate and Media tracks, students will be able to take a Judicial track that offers a mock court or a moot court experience; or they can sign up for a campaign track and learn how to help candidates get elected.

In my years in education and in this work, I’ve seen a lot of programs designed for teens; but I’ve never seen one like this. I was amazed at what these teens did in one week, regardless of the track they were involved with. I was involved with the House track, the entry-level program—and by Friday afternoon, all 14 of the students in my group were giving floor speeches and voting on multiple bills—all while sitting at the desks of real state representatives right on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives. It was incredible watching over 60 young people take part in this! What I saw in action was that kids really will rise to the challenge and that low expectations hurt youth. They love it when we believe in them and assume they can do more and better. I am so hoping we can make LEAD a reality here next summer!

This month has reminded me we desperately need better leadership in The Badger State. LEAD promises to help us find and develop those leaders in every area of life!

For more information and to learn how you can support the work of Wisconsin Family Council, please visit wifamilycouncil.org or call 888-378-7395.

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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