Assembly members slated to host sessions

Despite a possible roadblock that could prevent the inclusion of Wisconsin Assembly members, organizers of Tuesday’s third annual Government Day at UW-Eau Claire are excited about getting students connected with local- and state-level officials.

Three Assembly members – Reps. Larry Balow, Barbara Gronemus and Rob Kreibich – are scheduled to host sessions and speak with students. But they may be tied up in Madison because of lengthy debate on recent legislation, said Randy Winsand, director of Student Senate’s Intergovernmental Affairs Commission. Winsand expects to find out today if the three can make it.

I think students have more interest when they realize how it affects them. “
Jennifer Mikolajczyk

“I had assumed that the Senate and the Assembly were both going to be done this week,” Winsand said Friday. “This was an absolute surprise.”

Because of his local government connections – the non-traditional student served on the Eau Claire City Council for two years – Winsand said he may be able to come up with some last-minute alternatives.

And there still will be plenty of speakers to bring the message of this year’s theme – “It’s your government – get involved!” – to students.

Ranging from Student Senators to Wisconsin State Senators, Government Day speakers will begin at 9 a.m. and wrap up in the evening with the day’s keynote address by former Libertarian party gubernatorial candidate Ed Thompson.

Most of the day’s events will be held in Davies Center. The only exceptions are the City Council Candidate Forum – scheduled from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium – and Thompson’s 7 p.m. address, which will take place in Room 100, Schneider Hall.

Garry Sherwood, president of the Third Ward Neighborhood Association, will hold an open forum with students, Student Senate Leadership and a member of the Randall Park Neighborhood Association from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Potowatomi Room of Davies Center.

Sherwood said he wants to dispel the myth that neighborhoods around campus have an antagonistic relationship with students.

“We’re all working on the same issues,” Sherwood said.

Another of the featured speakers, Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Development and Diversity Kimberly Barrett, will address issues of women in leadership from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Eagle Room of Davies.

Freshman Jennifer Mikolajczyk said the variety in the day’s speakers might draw some otherwise-apathetic students.

“I think students have more interest when they realize how it affects them on a local level and a personal level,” Mikolajczyk said.

Government Day can be a valuable opportunity for students, Barrett said.

“I think it gives us a chance to be exposed to what government is really about,” she said. “Leadership is something we engage in every day.”