The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Students represent Iron County at Superior Days

 

March 7, 2019

Submitted photo

HURLEY STUDENTS Jayme Harma, Jackie Bradley, Dayne Stuhr, Tabbi Morello and Ezra Manzer, with 4-H youth development educator Neil Klemme, take a break from this year's Superior Days trip for a photo.

By BRYAN HELLIOS

bhellios@yourdailyglobe.com

MADISON - Students from Iron, Bayfield, Ashland and Douglas counties joined together with others bringing approximately 150 collaborative voices to legislators Feb. 11-13 in Madison during the 34th annual Superior Days.

Neil Klemme, Iron County's 4-H youth development educator, said Superior Days is one of "the oldest grassroots lobbying practices" in the state.

He said the yearly event started with all of the counties touching Lake Superior joined together and presented their concerns to officials in Madison.

"A lot of the times they are not aware how different it is living in northern Wisconsin as it is in southern Wisconsin," he said.

Non-partisan issues are identified by a consensus of committee members who must agree the issues are relevant enough to justify bringing them forth to lawmakers, Klemme said.

This year's issues included:

-Increase Medicaid reimbursements in Wisconsin.

-Sales tax options on the local level to fund roads.

-Support the request for increased funding for the University of Wisconsin-Superior to provide additional online programs and services.

The grass-roots organizing event allows students the chance to learn how to communicate with their representatives and witness the power of their collective voices, according to a Mercer School release.

Mercer students Molly Hohner, Hayle Allen and Bille Botes; along with Hurley students Dayne Stuhr, Tabbi Morello, Ezra Manzer, Jackie Bradley and Jayme Harma were selected to represent their schools in Madison.

Stuhr, a senior, said he has attended Superior Days through all four years of high school.

He said his involvement in politics has grown despite the lack of political interest amongst many of his peers at school.

"Most kids don't have any interest in politics," he said.

For those who have an interest in the political process, Stuhr said Superior Days allows them the chance to participate right alongside other delegates to raise issues and lobby politicians.

Most lobbying groups don't include youth in the process, he said.

He feels having younger people involve in the process might "open the legislator's eyes" to issues affecting young people.

During his freshman year trip, Stuhr said he advocated funding for road repair through a program that would accept Payment in Lieu of Taxes. This would increase PILT revenue per acre so a municipality would receive more money to fix current roads. Although no progress has been made during the last 4 years, he remains hopeful that Madison will act to improve the road conditions in Iron County.

"(The legislative process) takes a while," he said.

Stuhr said his interest in politics might be something he pursues later. But for now, he plans to base his future career plans around the science field.

"I do think that politics and government will be part of my life from here on," he said.

He said it's important for people to seek-out their political news from a variety of sources, or at least "fact-check" stories broadcasted on partisan media.

"We so often think of (politicians) doing all these negative bad things," Stuhr said, "but really they are working for us no matter what side of the aisle that they're on."

Along with lobbying legislators, the 34th Superior Days agenda listed a variety of events and speakers - including a special guest appearance by Gov. Tony Evers.

 
 

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