My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here you go:
Shortly after celebrating the birth of our great nation, my family and I celebrated the birth of my first grandchild. Such events cause one to pause and ponder life, posterity, and our state from a new perspective. God willing, my grandson will still be enjoying our wonderful state long after I have crossed into my immortality. What kind of state do I hope to leave him?
First and foremost, I want my grandson to grow up in a state where every child is allowed to be born. It is horrifying that some people would have accepted, even encouraged, my grandson to be killed right up to the moment he was born — and even for a few hours after — if his mother did not want him. I hope that Wisconsin will be a state that values every life and gives each baby the chance to live, grow, love, and be loved.
While they say that ignorance is bliss, it will not get you very far in life. Education is critical for one to be a contributing member of society and an active participant in our republic. Being educated also allows one to more fully enjoy life and the surrounding world with better understanding and knowledge. Education is a lifelong endeavor that begins in the home, but we also rightly expect our public and private schools to contribute to our education.
Most of Wisconsin’s public schools, and many of the private ones, are mediocre at best. In the case of public schools, we have too often used them as dumping grounds to solve societal ills instead of centers of education. We expect far too much of our teachers in terms of social work and not enough in terms of providing an exceptional education. I hope that Wisconsin can become a state where kids get the education that they deserve.
Wisconsin’s agricultural and manufacturing sectors have been the backbone of the state’s economy for generations and hopefully the state can continue to lead those sectors for many years to come. But Wisconsin needs a more diverse and dynamic economy if it is to stem the outflow of young workers. The technology sector is blossoming around Madison and the addition of Foxconn to the mix will help boost that sector in other regions, but the state needs to attract new businesses and industries. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to attract and encourage entrepreneurs to create and grow in the state. I hope that my grandchild will be able to enter a vibrant and diverse workforce when the time comes.
One of Wisconsin’s greatest assets is its stunning natural beauty. So many of us use and enjoy the many forests, lakes, streams, moraines, trails, and wildlife that Wisconsin has to offer. I hope that we will sensibly protect these natural assets while also ensuring that people are free to use them responsibly.
Nothing can rob a community or state of its potential more than crime. The vast majority of serious crimes are committed by a relatively small number of people, but those few people can sap the life out of a community. Crime not only directly impacts the victims, but carries over into the community by robbing the citizens of security and comfort. Crime scares away investment and pushes businesses, and the honest work they provide, beyond the reach of entire neighborhoods. I hope that Wisconsin takes the scourge of crime seriously by harshly punishing the offenders for the sake of the innocent.
High taxes have been a heavy yoke on the people of Wisconsin for so long that some Wisconsinites think such a burden is normal and acceptable. The burden is such that many young people choose to leave the state for the chance to take home more of their pay and many old people choose to leave because they can no longer afford to live here. High taxes drain money out of the private economy leaving less for people to invest in a business, save for retirement, buy a home, or educate their kids. I hope that Wisconsin will one day lighten the tax burden so that my grandson can afford to live and raise his own family in the state.
That is not to say that lower taxes should be replaced with more debt. Wisconsin must strive to lower government spending to enable lower taxes and less debt. There is no one quite as selfish as a politician who is willing to implement a debt tax on our grandchildren so that he or she can spend the money today.
Finally, I hope that Wisconsin continues on a path of expanding liberty wherever and whenever possible. I hope that the state reduces regulations, lowers taxes, protects the freedom of thought and word, protects the right to keep and bear arms, and ensures that whenever a balance must be struck between individual liberty and government power, that individual liberty wins the day.
I chose to live and raise a family in Wisconsin. I hope to do my small part to make it a better place where my grandson will choose to do the same.