Newsmakers, January 21, 2016

Air Date:
Heard On Newsmakers
Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Ron Kind
Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) Hope Kirwan/WPR

Ron Kind-

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, is entering his 20th year representing Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.

Kind has been in Congress as a member of the minority and majority party in the House of Representatives. Barack Obama is the third president he’s served with. He saw all eight years of President George W. Bush and the last four years of President Bill Clinton.

So what’s different about federal politics since he was first elected to the open seat in the fall of 1995, replacing long-time Republican Congressman Steve Gunderson who served the 16 years before him?

“On the negative side, it’s the intense polarization,” (of politics) he said. “Technology has certainly helped drive that. People are starting to gravitate toward their own tribes, or their own like-minded people. They’re hanging out, whether it’s in the chatrooms, or the Facebooks, or Instagrams (looking for) people who concur with their opinion. And unfortunately it’s kind of shut down critical thinking, or the ability for us to be a little more empathetic to the other person’s point of view.

Kind said he’s hopeful for the nation’s future because of the resilience of the American people.

“We’re adaptable. We evolve. Each generation has their own set of challenges that they tend to rise up and to address. Past generations have done it. This generation is required to do it, and future generations will in front of us,” he said.

Kind is in the midst of a series of listening sessions in the district now. He says he’s heard a lot about the presidential election, terrorism and bread and butter issues like the economy.

by John Davis

Episode Credits

  • Hope Kirwan Host
  • John Davis Producer
  • Representative Ron Kind Guest