Refocus Wisconsin is an ambitious project born of a love and concern for our state.
For more than two decades we at WPRI have witnessed the key pillars of our state deteriorate.
Wisconsin’s economy has never fully adjusted to changing national and global trends. We have been losing manufacturing jobs by the thousands, and, worse, we are not creating enough good replacement jobs.
In education, our schools are no longer the national leader they once were. Tragically, Milwaukee is in the process of failing its third generation of children, with no signs of a turnaround.
Our once-innovative government has become hidebound. We have come to accept mediocrity from state government that we would never accept from our sports teams. If a pitcher for the Brewers had done as well as our recent political leaders, he’d have been taken out in the first inning.
We know we need to make changes, but where should we begin? You hold the answer in your hand. To address these concerns, we scrupulously avoided seeking the input of the two groups who are largely responsible for our gloomy condition: politicians and special interests. Instead, we turned first to the people of Wisconsin. In the most extensive issue polling ever undertaken in the state, we asked the citizens about Wisconsin’s problems and an array of possible changes. What they told us shows a severe disconnect between our leaders and the public.
The second group we engaged are some of the best thinkers and writers in Wisconsin and the nation. We asked this all-star collection of thinkers from across the political spectrum to lay out the big ideas that will get our beloved state back on track. In this volume we have included their ideas for Wisconsin, a unique combination of innovation and tough love.
Refocus Wisconsin will result in a changed Wisconsin, a Wisconsin marked by a positive attitude built around innovation, commitment and risk-taking. Through this project, we hope to create the road map to a place where our aspirations and expectations will be high and we will relish, rather than shrink from, the prospect of breaking barriers. We hope and believe that years from now, when people ask the question “What turned this state around to the positive place it is today?” they will look to this project as the starting point.