December 16, 2004
A multi-partisan group of citizens today announced at a Capitol press conference that a "People’s Legislature" will be convened on Tuesday, January 4 in Madison to focus attention on how the people’s business has given way to a money-driven special interest agenda, engage people who feel shut out of the state political process, mobilize support for political reforms and begin building a homegrown grassroots movement to take back state government and restore democracy.
Leading the effort is a group of more than 100 reform-minded citizens, including: business executive and former University of Wisconsin Regent Nino Amato, Green Bay area business executive Paul Linzmeyer, Libertarian Party of Wisconsin chairman Ed Thompson, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe, FightingBob.com editor Ed Garvey, Judy Adrian and Carol Lobes of the Center for Democratic Action, Alfonso Zepeda-Capistran of Latinos United for Change and Advancement, and longstanding Republican Party member Carol McKy.
This unique convention - sponsored by FightingBob.com, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and the Center for Democratic Action - will be held at the Alliant Energy Center (former Dane County Expo Center) in Madison from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The chief aim of the assembly is to begin building a home for Wisconsin’s politically homeless - to provide a platform for people who feel their voices are not being heard at the Capitol and who believe the will of the people is being ignored by political leaders. The event is inspired by the hope that this gathering of folks from different walks of life and from every corner of our state can be a spark that ignites a populist prairie fire that can change Wisconsin’s political landscape.
Event organizers say the January 4 event is being planned with full understanding that no one-day gathering can do justice to all of the issues that are on the minds of people across the state who feel their voices are not being heard. Nor do we harbor any illusions that a multi-partisan assembly like the People’s Legislature can manufacture consensus on the most pressing concerns people have. That’s why we believe it makes sense to concentrate on what unites us rather than spending a lot of time discussing what divides us. While we may differ on what issues belong at the top of our state’s agenda and we may differ on how to solve those problems, what we all have in common is that none of us will be satisfied with what government does until we do something about how our government conducts business.
This is what binds us together - the need for open and accessible government and a healthy, functioning democracy that allows the collective voice of the people to be heard loud and clear at the Capitol. That means protecting local control, restoring public access to the decision making process, clean campaign financing, rigorous enforcement of ethics and campaign laws, and fairly drawn voting districts that produce competitive elections. Because now more than ever we need to find common ground rather than dwell on our differences, doing the things needed to restore the health of our democracy will be the focus of the first People’s Legislature.
"Those of us who are working to pull together a People’s Legislature may differ on what issues belong at the top of our state’s agenda and we may differ on how to solve those problems, but what binds us together is the knowledge that none of us will be satisfied with what government does until we do something about how our government conducts business," the group said. "We share a concern that Wisconsin is not Wisconsin anymore. Our state’s reputation for clean, open, responsible and progressive government has been badly soiled and is in danger of becoming a faded memory. Our democracy is in deep trouble."
Everyone is welcome to attend the People’s Legislature.