Letter from Rep. Danou: Let's work together to move Wisconsin forwardThis past weekend local communities across Wisconsin and the nation celebrated Memorial Day.
By: Rep. Chris Danou, Pierce County Herald
This past weekend local communities across Wisconsin and the nation celebrated Memorial Day. This is a time when we annually honor those who have served their country and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we cherish.
These brave men and women serve as an example for us all. They came from different parts of the country, different backgrounds and walks of life, and had different hopes and dreams for the future. Despite their differences, they worked together in a common effort to achieve a common goal. This is the ultimate example for us and our government in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has a proud history of having one of the most open and transparent state governments in the nation. In that tradition, our government has brought people together and worked on behalf of Wisconsinites to make our state a great place to work, live and raise a family. Everyone in our state should take pride in this because holding our elected officials and government to the highest standard is not a matter of political affiliation, but rather a matter of making sure our government is doing what it is supposed to; working for us.
This legislative session, the administration and the majority party rammed through divisive legislation that shut out the public and hurt the middle-class. Instead of continuing Wisconsin’s tradition of open, collaborative government, the Republican legislative agenda brought on secrecy oaths, legal battles, open meetings violations and a mounting John Doe investigation while they rammed through bills without discussion from others. Only 25 bills that had a Democrat as the primary author passed this session in the State Assembly under Republican leadership.
Thousands of jobs were lost while every other state in the nation added jobs. Billions were cut from public education while hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars went to private voucher schools. Health care funding was cut or frozen to assist the elderly, disabled and vulnerable members of society while environmental regulations were rolled back and greatly compromised to benefit business interests at public expense. This is not the Wisconsin government that we know or deserve.
Government is meant to bring us together and work on behalf of all people, in every community across this great state. Every community and all its residents play a role in spurring economic development and growth, providing quality education and services, and maintaining resources and traditions that contribute to our quality of life. Government should not ignore, shut out or vilify those who have a different perspective or political ideology. Instead, our government must remain open and direct its attention to common interests and to the means by which our differences can be resolved so we can work together.
By coming together, we not only have the chance to witness different viewpoints and perspectives, but we also have the privilege to experience commonalities and shared interests. Of course there will be differences, disagreements and discouraging moments along the way, but this will only solidify our ability and purpose in moving forward. By working together in this fashion, people from all walks of life have a place at the table of discussion and an understanding or comprise can be reached to move forward.
The best way for us to move forward is to put our differences aside, and focus on our commonalities as so many brave men and women have done and continue to do for us. We simply cannot afford to strike down or vilify those who have a different perspective than we do. In a time when the political aisle seems to have grown so wide that civil discussion is no longer commonplace, we must remember our proud past and work together to carry on Wisconsin’s tradition of moving forward.