We are writing to invite you to the 61st meeting of The Economic ForumTM.   During its storied history, LADCO’s Economic Forum has devoted its programs to “issues or trends that will have a major impact on the area economy.”

The next Forum, entitled “Redrawing Legislative Districts: What Should Wisconsin do in Light of the Federal Court Order?” is slated for Wednesday, April 19, 2017 beginning at 7:00 AM in the Radisson Hotel Ballroom. A number of Wisconsin citizens filed a lawsuit in federal court, arguing that the legislative boundary lines (Senate and Assembly) were drawn incorrectly after the last decennial census. The centuries old dictum is “one person, one vote”.  The federal court recently handed down a ruling agreeing with plaintiffs and ordered new lines be drawn by November of 2017. The method employed after the last census was an in-house method; inside of the Legislature. This has been the method for decades in Wisconsin.

In light of the court ruling should Wisconsin reconsider how it draws boundaries? Some argue that today “legislators chose their voters instead of voters choosing their legislators.” This hue and cry goes up every 10 years regardless of who controls the legislature and therefore the redistricting process.

To explore this significant public policy question, we have assembled a distinguished panel of speakers. One model that is pointed to as a more objective approach is the “Iowa model” where a three-judge panel draws up the legislative boundaries using the best data available. To give more background and how this is working we will hear from Professor Donna Hoffman, head of the Political Science department at University of Northern Iowa. A major advocate for change is Mr. Tim Cullen, former State Senator and Majority Leader, D-Janesville. And defending the status quo (the legislature is, after all, authorized to redistrict in our state constitution) is Mr. William Feehan, Chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party, former La Crosse County Supervisor and former member of the La Crosse County Board of Health.

Longtime Political Science Professor Joe Heim will moderate this Forum.

At issue in this debate are not just lines on a map. At issue is “Who will govern?” and “How shall we govern?”. In Wisconsin “good government” has been synonymous with “good business” for over a century. Here is a moment in time for Wisconsin to check ourselves and decide on the best way to move forward.

You can be a part of this debate on April 19 and in no small measure this exercise in democracy.

Please make plans to join us for the 61st Economic Forum on Wednesday, April 19 in the Radisson Hotel Ballroom.  Breakfast begins at 7:00 AM with the program beginning at 7:30 AM and concluding by 8:45 AM.  Cost is $40.00 per person.  To register, please fill out and return the REGISTRATION FORM with your payment by Friday, April 14, 2017. No registrations will be accepted after this date. Thank you!