During this holiday break, I have taken time from the hectic schedule that often dominates my life to relax and reflect on the past year. Part of my relaxation has been binge-watching movies and television shows I missed over the year. A few days ago, I began watching, “The Last Dance”, which chronicles the career of basketball phenome, Michael Jordan. I liked the ten part series because it goes beyond Jordan’s highlight reels and acknowledgement of his six NBA championships—the series shows Jordan’s journey to become the greatest of all time.
For those old enough to remember the early years of Jordan’s career, we can remember the Chicago Bulls were a team that were more infamous for deleterious behavior than winning basketball games. Jordan spent years developing his game and Bulls management became more serious about building a team of talent that had championship capacity. Michael Jordan’s fame didn’t come overnight; it was hard earned, and his work ethic was deliberately difficult and consistent. He was laser focused on being the best and had no room for teammates that were satisfied with mediocrity.
This is how I feel about working with members of the Wisconsin State Legislature. We need leadership, Democratic and Republican, in the senate and the assembly that are willing to take care of business for the people of Wisconsin. The entrenchment of partisanship has tainted the governance for far too long. It is time to restore common sense and goodwill for the people of this state. It is the only way we will be able to forge ahead and make it through this pandemic, improve the lot for all Wisconsinites, and achieve true equity in this state. There is no place for fear and groupthink, even within one’s own party—true leadership comes when you are able to hold individuals accountable and see beyond ego. Doing what is right for the greater good.
We are at a critical point in this state. We are on the cusp of progress or implosion. If we as legislators, on both sides of the aisle, do not choose to think outside of the box, our state will become a desolate island of inopportunity. We will be unable to attract and retain individuals and/or businesses who want to contribute to the overall health of our state. If we don’t work to mend the “us vs. them” mentality that exists between Milwaukee (and to a lesser extent, Madison) and the rest of the state, our state will fold. The people of Wisconsin need to understand that without the revenue generated in Milwaukee and Madison, we would have no economic center. Rural communities cannot exist without our two urban centers, and to not invest in them is a grave mistake. The jobs need to be where the people are—and the majority of people are not living in small hamlets in our state.
In order to move forward, we have to think a new way. We must be creative and innovative. Rural and urban working together to achieve success. Embracing new ideas to reinvigorate our agricultural industry, investing in tourism, doing more to attract college graduates to work and live in Wisconsin. Ensuring we have a healthy and well educated state from the cradle to the grave. We have to be willing to take calculated risks in order to improve our state. We cannot allow personal hang-ups and past practices to hamper progress; we must keep our eyes on the prize of advancement. Michael Jordan said it best, “Why would I think about missing a shot I haven’t taken?” We are in the fourth quarter of the game, with seconds to go—it’s time to take the shot.