On May 9th, Millennial Action Project gathered elected officials and local community leaders from across the political spectrum for an evening of conversation and action in Green Bay. The seventh in a series of bipartisan discussions MAP has hosted across Wisconsin, this Red & Blue Dialogue promoted the robust exchange of ideas on a topic that affects every resident of The Badger State - water quality.
Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, who served as a member of the Wisconsin State Future Caucus during his time in the legislature, delivered opening remarks before handing it over to MAP President Steven Olikara for a panel featuring Reps. Staush Gruszynski (D) and David Steffen (R). Both legislators emphasized the importance of bipartisan collaboration, with Rep. Steffen noting that “you can find principled compromise without compromising your principles.”
The panel went on to highlight the complex and varying challenges posed by water quality across Wisconsin. Rep. Gruszynski, a member of the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality, noted that Wisconsinites face unique water quality issues in different parts of the state. He also commented on the generational importance of water quality, saying, “To me, as a Millennial, water quality is about quality of life.”
Near the close of the panel, Rep. Steffen detailed his support of a promising water pollution credit trading bill that has received bipartisan support in the Wisconsin state legislature. He expressed optimism, saying, “It’s going to provide some opportunity for creative solutions for addressing nonpoint-source pollution, and it’s going to be financially feasible. For that legislation to be viable, it needed to be bipartisan.” Rep. Gruszynski also supports the bill, and State Sen. Robert Cowles (R), one of the bill’s original co-authors, was in attendance.
The evening then transitioned to small group discussions that were facilitated by the Representatives and local water quality experts. Building off of the panelists’ remarks, these conversations provided a space for community members to share their perspective on water quality and how their personal experiences shaped their hopes for the future of water quality in Green Bay.
Steven Olikara captured the spirit of the night best when he said, “My hope is that these sort of ideas can inspire new and creative legislative ideas that can be taken back to the legislature and city hall. Today is not just about conversation - it’s about action.”
This free community event was the seventh in a series on political polarization. MAP invites participants to return for the eight dialogue in Milwaukee on June 20th, 2019.