Our constitutional republic depends on citizen engagement. Beyond the ballot box, there are many ways to make your voice heard.

In February, Governor Tony Evers proposed a budget that invests in communities across Wisconsin. From a $100 million investment in broadband expansion - which is more than double the amount spent in the past five years – to a commitment to fully-fund our schools, this budget lays out a plan to create a Wisconsin for all of us. 

In a complex document like the state budget, I’m sure there are many questions about what this means for the typical family. That’s why I’m excited for the flurry of budget listening sessions being hosted by the governor and legislators.

As the budget debate heats up, Governor Tony Evers is back on the road with budget listening sessions across the state. These events are open to everyone – not invite only – and they start at 5:30 p.m. so it’s easier for working people to participate.

In River Falls, the Joint Committee on Finance, the legislature’s budget committee, is holding a public hearing at UW-River Falls, 500 Wild Rose Ave. The session will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, April 15. Individuals seeking to testify before the committee will have two minutes to share their thoughts and must register on a first come, first served basis. Free parking is available at Pay 1 Lot, on North Second St.

In Menomonie, Senator Jeff Smith and I are hosting a listening session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 at the Shirley Doane Senior Center, 1412 East Sixth St. Participants can learn more about the budget, share their priorities, and ask questions. No registration is required.

Ultimately, a budget reflects our priorities, and the only way we can advocate for them is by listening to the people.

We are stronger when we work together. As our communities age, we will face new challenges about health care, our workforce, and transportation. These are serious issues that deserve thoughtful considerations. I am hopeful that you can be a part of this conversation.