April 5: Senator Tammy Baldwin: Building Support for Respect for Marriage Act

–submitted by Janet Piraino

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin spoke to our club on April 5th about building bipartisan support for the Respect for Marriage Act, which requires states to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages performed in other states. 

In building support for the bill, the Senator credited the many men and women who had the courage to come out to their families and friends.  She encouraged her colleagues to talk to their loved ones about the issue because she knew every one of them knew someone they loved who was married or committed to their same sex partner.  She also credited the endorsement of faith organizations she never dreamed would support the bill, including Mormon, Christian and Orthodox Jewish groups. 

She ultimately convinced 12 Republican senators to join her Democratic colleagues in voting for the bill, something she said would have been impossible even just a decade ago.  

Our thanks to WisconsinEye for videotaping our Rotary meeting last week. If you missed it, you can watch it here: https://wiseye.org/2023/04/05/rotary-club-of-madison-senator-tammy-baldwin/.

March 29: WI Supreme Court Candidate Dan Kelly

–submitted by Larry Larrabee

The Candidate Forum for the Wisconsin Supreme Court featured only former Justice Dan Kelly as his opponent, Judge Janet Protasiewicz, declined our offer to participate.  After his opening remarks, Dan Kelly addressed questions about the role precedence should play in court decisions as well as its role in redistricting and gun control.  How Supreme Court justices should be elected and determining what is “original” when interpreting the Constitution were also addressed.

Most of former Justice Kelly’s remarks emphasized the differences between what was in the purview of the Legislature vs. that of the Supreme Court and the importance of these responsibilities being separate from each other.

Our thanks to Wisconsin Eye for videotaping our guest speaker, and, if you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://wiseye.org/2023/03/29/rotary-club-of-madison-wi-supreme-court-candidate-justice-dan-kelly/.

March 22: Madison Mayoral Candidates Weigh In

–submitted by Sharyn Alden

Mayoral Candidates Satya Rhodes-Conway and Gloria Reyes Offer Insightful Views for Madison’s Future

At Rotary on March 22, both Madison mayoral candidates showcased their positions, often punctuated with deep feelings, for the future of Madison.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway pointed out several areas of progress. She pointed out she was proud of Dane County’s vaccination rate (during Covid-19) as being the highest in the country.

Priorities for her administration have included increased housing and transportation choices. Another focus has been on police safety, which she gives credit to Chief Shon F. Barnes, and the 911 mental health program which was implemented during the Mayor’s term in office.

She said housing challenges have been a top priority. “We were under producing housing for years.” Recently Madison has approved 15,000 units of new housing.

She added, “Beyond just having more housing, we need to have affordable places for everyone who wants to live here.”

Mayoral candidate Gloria Reyes expressed concern for the city-wide improvements that didn’t take place when the current administration headed by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway took office four years ago. “The perceived changes didn’t happen,” she said.

Reyes, who proudly noted she grew up in Madison, framed her views around the need for a more diverse perspective and improved communications between Madison leaders in government and other sectors.

She pointed out policy projections are one thing, but there’s a need to build real-world better on-the-ground, collaborative relationships. “Plus, we need to get away from the narrative of defunding the police.”

“We need more diverse perspectives so decisions work better for those who are impacted,” she said.

She pointed out the following example around transportation decisions. “They moved the bus stop that was in front of Briarpath in Madison, exactly where young people need it.”

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQLjAA4xYtU&t=2410s

March 15: Treat Everyone Like a Dog

–submitted by Janet Piraino

This week, Rotarians were treated to a talk by author and animal trainer extraordinaire, Patricia McConnell.  Her talk, titled Treat Everyone Like a Dog, challenged us to apply the science of positive reinforcement used in dog training to elicit desired behaviors from our children, our spouses and even ourselves. 

For example, if you resist giving your dog a treat until the 10th time he begs, you are teaching him to beg 10 times to get what he wants.  Likewise, if you don’t give in to your child until the 10th time she begs you take her to a concert, you’re teaching her that persistence is rewarded.  She also cautioned that anticipation can be more motivating than an actual reward.  A “treat” loses its power if it’s offered 100% of the time. If employees receive the same bonus every year, it may lose its motivational impact. 

In life, like in dog training, rewarding good behavior, and being conscious of the behaviors we may be unintentionally rewarding, can be the key to getting what we want in life.  

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/ZoMg8l7T61o.

March 8: From Spelling Bee Champ to Journalist

–submitted by Ellsworth Brown

Kelly Lecker, Executive Editor of the Wisconsin State Journal and, 38 years ago the Badger State Spelling Bee champion, was the perfect speaker on March 8th.  In addition to Rotarians, she addressed 11 current Madison winners of the All City Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Wisconsin State Journal since 1949.

Kelly answered the question “What’s It Like to be the Badger State Spelling Bee Champion?”. Her short answer offered her personal track from spelling bee à study habits à writing à journalism à current position.  Benefits include confidence through success, celebration of academics, pride, and a heightened sense of community.

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here: https://youtube.com/live/39WHriJ9dFo.

March 1: Print Media Today and Tomorrow

–submitted by Valerie Renk

Paul Fanlund told Rotarians March 1 print media is alive and well. Fanlund is publisher of the The Capital Times, and he served the Madison print media trifecta as Wisconsin State Journal Editor and Madison Media Partners VP Operations prior to that. 

“I’ve worked in the same building over 40 years but for three companies,” Fanlund said.

Looking forward, Fanlund consulted with leaders of all three media organizations, who report legacy media may have some areas of decline but will still be relevant. 

Statewide, 84 percent of Wisconsin adults read local print or digital newspapers. A surprising number, 28, newspapers are published five times a week or more; 194 total papers are staffed by 8,950 people.

Print news challenges include youth leaning toward digital platforms, cost/availability of newsprint, plus delivery issues. And digital offers immediacy, intimacy, and flexibility with audio and video enhancements.

Still, Fanlund says he doesn’t buy that old day journalism was better because more people were doing it. 

“A lot of the positions not there anymore were not doing the front-line reporting; you may see more typos now, but editors are prioritizing that front line reporting,” he says.  “We sometimes worked in packs covering the same story.  Good work is done today to avoid that mentality.“

Madison is lucky to have multiple excellent newsrooms and a well-educated readership. We need community support for events, consideration from advertisers, and knowing we are building our success on the size of our audience, not print circulations. 

If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/EJ9z84DB2V4.