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Rotunda Report
  • Rotunda Report
    June 06, 2022

    Growing the Grassroots

    Grassroots engagement is the most powerful way to effect change, whether at the local, state, or federal level. Two recent Advocacy Network meetings highlighted the role State Bar members can play in the legislative process.
    Appleton area legislators talking with State Bar members

    Lawmakers meeting with State Bar members in Appleton. Pictured, left to right: Rep. Snodgrass, Rep. Murphy, Sen. Jacque, Rep. Tusler, Sen. Cowles, and Rep. Cabral-Guevara.

    June 6, 2022 – The Advocacy Network is the Grassroots component of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Government Relations program. It connects State Bar members with their elected officials, to amplify and coordinate their voices with the legislature and governor, ensuring that those who write and pass our laws are hearing from those who practice it.

    One of the most impactful ways we do this is by facilitating in-person meetings between members and legislators, forming face-to-face relationships that help to build familiarity and trust between elected officials and their constituents in the State Bar. Two recent meetings in La Crosse and Appleton did just that.

    State Bar members and Rep. Doyle listening to Reps. Oldenburg and Billings

    State Bar members, including Rep. Doyle, listen to Reps. Billings and Oldenburg.

    Reps. Billing and Oldenburg discuss ways to stay involved

    Left to right: Rep. Billings and Rep. Oldenburg discuss ways for State Bar members to stay involved.​

    On May 25, around two dozen members gathered in La Crosse at Big Al’s Pizza. Over what some may describe as the best pizza in Western Wisconsin, members heard from Representatives Jill Billings (D – La Crosse), Steve Doyle (D – Onalaska and a State Bar member), and Loren Oldenburg (R – Viroqua), who shared their perspectives on the recent legislative session, challenges and opportunities ahead, and the best ways for members of the State Bar to engage with their offices. Later, members asked questions that included topics as diverse as expungement reform and OWI licensing made for a lively discussion.

    Lawmakers meeting with State Bar members in Appleton.

    Left to Right: Rep. Tusler, Sen. Cowles, and Rep. Cabral-Guevara in Appleton

    On June 1, another meeting was held at Fratello’s Restaurant in Appleton. Lawmakers attending included Senators Robert Cowles (R – Green Bay) and Andre Jacque (R – De Pere), and Representatives Ron Tusler (R – Harrison and State Bar member), Rachael Cabral-Guevara (R – Appleton), Dave Murphy (R – Greenville), and Lee Snodgrass (D – Appleton). Over a picturesque view of the Fox River, legislators spoke for a few minutes each, sharing their perspectives on legislation that impacts the legal profession. Members asked several questions that included issues of how and when best to engage in the legislative process, how State Bar members can best plug in, and issues surrounding juvenile justice and family court indigence protocols.

    State Bar members and staff listen as Appleton lawmakers discuss topics of interest

    State Bar leaders, members, and staff listen as Appleton area lawmakers discuss topics of interest.​

    Another way to engage is with online tools like our Advocacy Action Center, where members can easily find their legislators and send them an email, phone call, or social media message. To use the action center, simply go to, select a message to send or choose “compose your own,” and enter your home address. The system will automatically match you with the legislators in your district, and will supply pre-written suggested messages that you can then edit and personalize, or a blank form that you can start from scratch. It also will contain options to place a phone call, tweet or Facebook post, if you so desire. All messages are fully editable—and legislators at both events emphasized the importance of personalizing—and are sent from your email address or social media account, so that elected officials know they are hearing from their constituents. Yo​u are always welcome to use them to discuss any issue that you find important.

    Grassroots tools and meetings help grow the voice of the legal profession, and assist Government Relations staff to understand where members are actively connecting with lawmakers on topics of importance, and where work may still be needed. If you have any questions or fresh ideas about how to get engaged, or if you are interested in meetings in your area, reach out to Grassroots Outreach Coordinator Devin Martin at


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