As our tea party-sponsored government shutdown concludes its second week with little hope for a resolution, the contrast between life in Wisconsin and life in our nation's capital couldn't be clearer. In Wisconsin, we work hard. In Washington, D.C., House Republicans refuse to do the very thing they were hired to do: govern.
Wisconsin is feeling the consequences of their actions. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that with the government shutdown, over 850,000 people in Wisconsin are in danger of losing their food stamps. Vital assistance for children, the elderly and those most at risk in our state could be cut-off all together. The effects of the shutdown are far-reaching, from public safety to education and security. While this may be the first shutdown in 17 years, the state of affairs in Congress has become crisis after crisis, stalemates and brinkmanship trumping solutions and compromise.
The answer isn't to get mad; it's to get elected. We need to start holding tea party Republicans accountable for their actions and change the conversation in politics. Right here in Wisconsin, we have tea party darlings Sean Duffy and Paul Ryan -- two congressmen who are willing to put party politics ahead of Wisconsin families. The only way to stop the madness in Washington is to elect new, fresh faces from Wisconsin.
We know it's not easy and it won't happen overnight, but we need to recruit candidates for city councils and county boards who will use their experience at local government to one day run for Congress and beat Paul Ryan or send Sean Duffy packing. We must build the bench of progressive champions who will fight for our values and end the crisis cycle once and for all so that no politician stands between a family and their next meal.
Scott Spector is executive director of Wisconsin Progress, a state-based candidate recruitment and training program building a progressive network of elected leaders at the local and state level. "Citizen" is an opinion series that presents the views of the author. If you would like to reply, please comment or consider submitting an op-ed in response.