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What Can You Do To Stay Involved In The Political Process?

Voter turnout in Wisconsin and around the country was extremely high for the recent midterm elections. Political analysts have attributed the high turnout to the controversy over the Trump administration's policies, as well as the hyper-polarized and politicized state of the nation.

But now that the election is over, what are the opportunities for people to stay involved in the political process? That was the central focus of our latest "Across the Red and Blue Divide" event, presented by WUWM in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Millennial Action Project, and the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion.

When it comes to holding elected officials’ feet to the fire, state Rep. Amanda Stuck, Assembly District 57 (D-Appleton) and state Rep. Adam Neylon, Assembly District 98 (R-Pewaukee) have a few ideas.

1. Show up

Stuck urges people to say involved by showing up at town halls and other community meetings.

“I know when I’ve held town halls, I’ve had nobody show up at all in my community. So, show up even if you think they’re on their side and they’re doing what you want,” Stuck says. “Show up to show support or to check in and to make sure they really are doing what you wanted them to do.”

Here are a few resources to help you learn about various public meetings:

2. Try to understand a different opinion

Neylon wants people to try put themselves in the shoes of someone they disagree with.

“Try to understand where they’re coming from," he says. "All of us are shaped by external factors that we have no control over … and who wants to live in a world that everyone disagrees?”

3. Keep in touch

Stuck says it’s important for people to communicate their ideas to elected officials.

“Don’t be afraid to write and call. Just really stay in touch and keep track of what they’re really doing instead of just thinking now that you voted, you don’t ever have to pay attention to what they’re doing again.”

To get you started, here are a few resources to help you find your elected officials:

The latest "Across the Red and Blue Divide" event was moderated by Steven Olikara, the founder and president of the Millennial Action Project, and Lake Effect's Mitch Teich. Panelists were state Rep. Amanda Stuck, District 57 (D-Appleton); state Rep. Adam Neylon, Assembly District 98 (R-Pewaukee); Molly Beck, Capitol bureau reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Stuck and Neylon are also leaders of the Future Caucus, Wisconsin's only bipartisan legislative caucus.

Editor's note: If the elected official or meeting you're looking for isn't included above, a quick Google search may help you find the information you're looking for. 

Lauren Sigfusson
Lauren became WUWM's digital producer in July 2018.
Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect.