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Is bi-partisanship dead?

January 3, 2019

By Ed Byrne The Brillion News

MADISON – With partisan cooperation on many issues a memory of the past, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership sponsored a one-day seminar on restoring effective public leadership.

The event drew Republicans and Democrats alike.

“We need to rediscover our American rhythm. We need to learn how to cooperate once again, and appreciate people with whom we disagree,” said Professor Ryan Owens, the Thompson Center’s director.

Dr. Alan Wiseman, chairman of the Political Science Department at Vanderbilt University, is also the co-director of the Center for Effective Lawmaking (

“The United States is wrestling with some serious policy problems – failing education, rise in medical expenditures, gun violence, cyber attacks, the rising cost of the national debt,” Wiseman said. “People will even go so far as to argue that many of our national, state and local institutions are essentially dysfunctional.”

He said public approval rating of the work of Congress is only at 20 percent – and that’s high. It has been lower in the recent past.

Both political parties are equally dysfunctional and self-centered, in his estimation.

Wiseman has been measuring the effectiveness of politicians; his book about it is titled Legislative Effectiveness in the U.S. Congress.

His method of measuring a politician’s effectiveness is based on the history of the legislation that each authors.

“How many bills they introduce? How many of those bills receive any sort of action? How many receive action beyond committee? How many pass the chamber, and how many get signed into law?” Wiseman said.

The most effective legislators in Congress, he found, were in the majority party, were senior members of Congress, or have been committee chairs.

Those with background in a state legislature were more effective in the federal legislature because they had experience.

Please see the complete story in the January 3, 2019 edition of The Brillion News. 


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