La Follette and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel partner to highlight what matters to Wisconsin

Logo for the Main Street Agenda with the text, "what matters to Wisconsin, policy perspectives, presented by the La Follette School of Public Affairs in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel"

The La Follette School of Public Affairs and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are collaborating to share insights on how Wisconsinites feel about important policy topics through a yearlong project called the Main Street Agenda.

The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the issues that Wisconsin residents are concerned about in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election. Each month during the Main Street Agenda, the La Follette School and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel will feature a different policy topic in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Ideas Lab and other media. These stories will use new statewide survey data to highlight what matters to Wisconsin. The WisconSays/La Follette Survey being used for the Main Street Agenda is a subset of the new WisconSays opinion panel based out of the UW-Madison Survey Center. There are more than 3,500 Wisconsinites enrolled in this representative panel.

Each month will also feature a faculty member from the La Follette School or the greater UW-Madison community with expertise on various policy perspectives. J. Michael Collins of La Follette will kick things off in January by discussing Wisconsinites’ pocketbooks and their views on financial matters such as inflation, emergency savings, and retirement. Other topics planned for the yearlong campaign include child care, energy transitions, the opioid crisis, confidence in government, and more.

“We hope the policy perspectives featured in the Main Street Agenda will help folks across the state get a sense of the issues on the minds of their fellow Wisconsinites heading into a high-profile election,” La Follette Interim Director Gregory Nemet says. “We’re thrilled to partner with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel again for this project. They were incredible partners to us in 2022 for our first Main Street Agenda and we’re looking forward to this new, expanded version.”

In 2022, La Follette partnered with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Wisconsin Public Radio for a Main Street Agenda that consisted of public town halls in three locations across the state. Nine faculty members from La Follette and 250 in-person attendees engaged in discussions about pressing public policy issues.

“At the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, we’re pleased to again partner with the La Follette School of Public Affairs for this vital effort, which, like our news coverage, aims to put voters and the issues they care about at the center of the election,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Executive Editor Greg Borowski says. “It is essential to elevate voices from across the state, and we’ll work closely with our 10 other USA TODAY NETWORK newsrooms in Wisconsin to assure they are heard.”

In the fall, the Main Street Agenda will also include in-person community conversations around the state that will give people additional opportunities to share their views on the issues that matter to them. Later in the fall, the Main Street Agenda will be capped by the annual La Follette Forum that brings together researchers, policymakers, and community leaders to address major policy issues. This year’s Forum will focus on the policy perspectives highlighted throughout the year and the civil dialogue efforts of the community conversations.

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