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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    February 11, 2020

    Your State Bar: Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport

    Whether you agree or disagree with particular stances taken by the State Bar, make sure your elected officials hear your opinion. Here's how to do so.

    Larry J. Martin

    This year’s election cycle seems to have started earlier than ever. Before the first snowstorm of the season (which also seems to come earlier each year), presidential campaigns were already running commercials in the Badger state. Soon, campaign fliers will fill our mailboxes, literature will be left at our doors, and yard signs will pop up like early dandelions across Wisconsin’s landscape.

    Larry J. MartinLarry J. Martin is the executive director for the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    You already know that local, state, and federal elections are vitally important. By all means, get involved. Inform yourself about the candidates and issues, attend a candidate forum, put a sticker on your car, wear a button, and put a sign in your yard for your favorite candidates. Most important: Vote, and encourage your friends, colleagues, and neighbors to exercise their right. When everyone votes we all win, regardless of the outcome.

    But voting in an election is not the end of the political process, it is the beginning.

    It’s after we collectively choose our elected officials that our democratic responsibilities truly kick in. For the system to really work, we are all obligated to stay engaged with the people who represent us and help them as they work to shape and form public policy.

    As an attorney, your training and understanding of the law give you a unique perspective on the effect potential legislation can have in shaping and influencing society.

    State Representative and State Bar of Wisconsin member Ron Tusler said it best in the December 2019 Wisconsin Lawyer: “Our legislators in Madison and Washington, D.C., do indeed listen to their constituents and it is possible for the public to have a direct impact in their community, state, and nation.”

    Your State Bar has developed tools to help you keep informed about key issues and stay in touch with the individuals who represent you in public office.

    Subscribe to Rotunda Report, the State Bar of Wisconsin's Government Relations electronic newsletter that highlights legislative, judicial, and administrative developments that affect the legal profession and the justice system. It is published twice per month and is distributed free to attorneys, public officials, and others who help shape public policy in Wisconsin. Check out our Advocacy Network site. It was developed specifically to help you engage directly with your elected officials. Our site keeps you up to date on priority issues and links you directly with lawmakers to make your voice heard.

    Your State Bar has developed tools to help you keep informed about key issues and stay in touch with the individuals who represent you in public office.

    You can also follow The Rotunda Report on twitter. Our handle is @SBWRotundaRpt. Finally, if you have any questions or comments about the State Bar’s advocacy work, don’t hesitate to reach out to Devin Martin, our grassroots outreach coordinator. Reach him at or at (608) 250-6145.

    Whether you agree or disagree with the particular positions the State Bar may take, make sure your elected officials hear your voice.

    Democracy can flourish only when all our voices are heard, individually and collectively. Vote – but then take the next crucial step and engage in the important work of advancing good public policy that will move our communities, our state, and our nation forward. Current and future generations will thank you.

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