On March 1, 2023, national, state, and local leaders convened to share success stories in policy implementation during the fourth annual
La Follette Forum: All Policy is Implementation. Chaired by Associate Professor Manny Teodoro, the daylong event drew over 200 in-person attendees, and an additional 230 people viewed the livestream as panelists and keynote speakers generously shared success stories from across the state including overcoming barriers to equitable policy implementation, addressing substance abuse, and keeping communities safe and informed during the pandemic. Photos by Kayla Wolf unless otherwise noted.
Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card discusses lessons learned from his career with Associate Professor Manny Teodoro. “The policy isn’t defined by the rhetoric around it. The policy is defined by the implementation,” said Card.
The inclusive implementation panel session was moderated by Benoy Jacob. Panelists Erick Shambarger (MPA ’02), Ruben Anthony, and Tara Yang emphasized the importance of giving community members agency and including them in the process every step of the way to gain their trust. “We have to be better,” said Shambarger. “We have a responsibility and opportunity and obligation to do better going forward.”
Dylan Helmenstine (MPA ’22) asks a question of the inclusive implementation panel.
Forum chair Manny Teodoro talks with Benoy Jacob, director of the UW–Madison Division of Extension Community Development Institute and panel moderator, between sessions.
Oshkosh Fire Chief Mike Stanley answers a question during the lunch breakout conversation on emergency medical services with panelists Rob Henken, Wisconsin Policy Forum President, and Lake Country Fire and Rescue Chief Matthew Fenning. Lunch panelists emphasized the importance of communication and relationship building in successful policy implementation.
La Follette School Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee poses for a selfie between sessions with Katie Rosenberg, Mayor of the City of Wausau. Mayor Rosenberg was a panelist in the lunch breakout conversation focused on public safety. Photo by Katie Rosenberg.
Karen Timberlake, former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, introduces the panel discussion on substance abuse.
Shakita LaGrant-McClain, executive director of the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services, answers a question during the substance abuse panel session along with Judge Marc Hammer, Brown County Circuit Court Judge. LaGrant-McClain discussed how the Milwaukee City-County Heroin, Opioid, Cocaine Task Force incorporated feedback from community members. “They wanted to make sure that people with lived experience, their voices were at the table,” she said. “And I think that’s really important when we talk about, ‘How do we meet their needs? How do we meet people where they are?’”
Panelist Shakita LaGrant-McClain talks with attendees between panel sessions.
Retired Ideas Lab Editor, David Haynes, introduces the panel session on COVID-19 response. Panelist Lieske Giese, director and health officer of the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, pointed out, “None of our planning considered the political side” of a potential pandemic. The public health crisis planning focused on the science, which left cities and counties scrambling during the pandemic to address misinformation and to gain the public’s trust.
Dr. Diamond Williams, outreach program manager of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 Response and Recovery Team, introduces herself during a panel discussion. “When we look at (policy) in its simplest form, it all comes down to including people and allowing them to contribute what they can and know how to bring that to the table,” said Williams.
Closing keynote speaker Melissa Harris-Perry, professor and host of The Takeaway, discusses how responses to natural disasters have affected the public’s trust in the government. She emphasized that the government should be honest and clear about incentives and constraints to earn the public’s trust.
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