Category Archives: Rotary Club of Madison

November 16: Behind the Mid-Term Election Results

–submitted by Sharyn Alden

In speaking to the Madison Rotary Club November 16, Professor Barry Burden offered an important overview and political narrative pertaining to the 2022 mid-term elections.

“There were a complicated set of stories intersecting this year,” he noted.

Nationwide, the mid-terms brought out 40 percent of voters, one of the highest numbers in several years. In Wisconsin, known for strong voter turnouts, 60 percent of registered voters turned out to vote.

Interestingly, Burden pointed out some candidates who lost races might have won if it weren’t for their lack of experience or funding.

Concerns about the mid-terms were abundant before the election. They ranged from worries about keeping the integrity of democracy nationwide, possible violence in the streets, or election losers’ failures to concede. “None of that happened,” said Burden.

There had also been concerns that redistricting would shake things up, but across the country that didn’t appear to make a dent in the results.

Historically, it’s true that during midterm elections seats are typically lost within the party of the current president. “You pay a price for being the guy in the White House,” Burden said.

In tabulating votes in Wisconsin’s 72 counties, Governor Tony Evers was elected by a larger margin than projected while Senator Ron Johnson won by a smaller margin than expected.

One of things anticipated prior to the election was a “red (Republican) wave” of victories across the country. But Burden concurred with the amusingly proffered result offered by a Washington Post article that called it more of a “red puddle.”

Burden explained there was less shifting back and forth of voters of party preferences this time around because there are fewer blocks of swing voters as there were among hotly contested swing states in previous elections.

Many topics brought people to the polls to cast their ballots. A vote against Trump was one, along the pro-choice movement. In Wisconsin abortion and inflation were important voting motivators.

But at the end of the day, it appeared, at least by Wisconsin’s large voter turnout, people simply wanted to get involved and have their choices counted-a good sign of democracy in the works.

Our thanks to WisEye for videotaping our guest speaker on November 16. You can watch the video here:

November 2: “Research is Music to My Chancellor Ears”

–submitted by Bill Haight

UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin (center) pictured here with Music Committee members Darin Harris and Elaine Mischler

After just about three months on the job UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin says she’s been meeting with as many stakeholders as possible.

She got input from the Rotarians present by using an app ( that allowed her to gather responses to the question “What word or words come to mind when you think of UW-Madison?” Rotarians answered on their phones. Two of the most prominent were “Bucky” and “Research”.

“’Research’ is music to my Chancellor ears,” she said, and “Bucky, this mischievous, loving mascot, gives people a warm feeling about this university and that is a not insignificant.”

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here:

October 19: Trends in Upcoming Election

–submitted by Joy Cardin

From left: Barb Wiley, Liane Kosaki, Charles Franklin and Andrea Kaminski

The race for Wisconsin Governor between Democratic Governor Tony Evers and his Republican challenger Tim Michels has tightened and is now considered a tossup according to the latest Marquette Law School Poll.  Poll director Charles Franklin says among likely voters 47% support Evers and 46% support Michels.  Michels gained support since the September poll mainly from independent voters.  

The race for US Senate between Republican Senator Ron Johnson and his Democratic challenger Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes has widened since the last poll. Franklin say Johnson now as a six point edge over Barnes, 52% to 46%.  Once again, independent voters are trending toward Johnson. 

Professor Franklin says the close races show how important voter turnout will be on November 8.

The final Marquette poll for this election cycle will be released on November 2. 

If you missed the program this week, you can watch it here:

October 5: The Power of Rotary

–submitted by Joy Cardin

Why did you join Rotary?  Why do you stay in Rotary?  And what is needed for Rotary’s future?

District Governor Ben Bauer got us thinking and moving at the October 5 meeting by asking us to answer these questions and move to different parts of the room representing four important components of Rotary membership: Giving, Service, Fellowship, and Networking.  The audience participation portion of the program was a fun way to illustrate what Rotary means to all of us as individuals and how we all might unite to take Rotary to the next level. Perhaps not surprisingly, we ended up with a large group in the middle of the room where all four benefits of Rotary membership intersected. 

He also presented the club with a Rotary Citation for 2021-22 year for achieving the required number of goals chosen from a list of a possible 25.  He encouraged us all to keep acting on our dreams.  

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here:

September 28: Know Madison: Annual Vocational Fellowship Day Highlights

Photo 1: Breese Stevens Field; Photo 2: Children’s Theater of Madison at MYARTS

Instead of our regular meeting at the Park Hotel, members enjoyed an opportunity to get to know one another better in small groups as they toured and learned about various Madison area businesses.

Photo 1: RISE Wisconsin; Photo 2: WI Historical Society

The idea behind this annual luncheon goes back to the founding of the organization in 1905 when Paul Harris met with three friends to discuss an idea that he had been developing.  From this discussion came the concept of a business club to promote fellowship and, by rotating weekly meetings at their various places of business, become better acquainted with one another’s vocations.  This practice of rotating meetings is how Rotary got its name.

Photo 1: Holy Wisdom Monastery; Photo 2: Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District

In this spirit, club members and guests visited one of eight sites this week.  Our Vocational Day Sub-Committee wishes to thank the following hosts: 

  • Mark Clear – Breese Stevens Field
  • Allen Ebert – Children’s Theater of Madison at MYARTS
  • Jason Ilstrup – Dane County Airport
  • Bob Dinndorf & Charles McLimans – Holy Wisdom Monastery
  • Michael Mucha – Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • Scott Strong – RISE Wisconsin
  • Christian Overland – WI Historical Society
  • Terry Anderson – WI State Senate


Photo 1: Dane County Airport; Photo 2: WI State Senate

Some comments from club members:

“It was an amazing tour! A continuation of excellent programs this year!”

“The presentation and tour were instructive, well organized and fascinating! Good food too!”

Visit our club’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages for more photos.

September 21: Report on South Madison Renaissance

–submitted by Ellsworth Brown

Ruben Anthony, Alex Gee, and Karen Menendez Coller presented a well-coordinated report on Madison’s dynamic South Madison Renaissance in a series of five-minute presentations and sequenced responses to queries by Past President Teresa Holmes. 

The South Park Street development, totaling $150 million dollars and with construction well underway, will change the face of South Park Street, a key freeway entrance to Madison, a central street through the community and bring dramatic affirmation to the area’s residents and businesses. 

Karen emphasized especially Centro Hispano’s greatly expanded new quarters at Cypress and Hughes Place, its affirmative effect on a fast-growing population and a heightened level of community collaboration. 

Alex noted that the initiatives complement combined leadership, a sentiment mentioned by all three panelists and an emphasis on a reaffirmed Black culture of great depth as an offset to increasing area gentrification. 

Rubin spoke about the Black Business Hub now being erected, combining new offices for established organizations with parallel training facilities for the workforce and for new initiatives. 

As one panelist said, “Madison deserves this.”  A standing ovation by a roomful of Rotarians signaled agreement!

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: